March 6, 2013 Fresno, CA: A 24 year old intern named Dianna Hanson was mauled to death while inside a cage with a four year old male lion named Cous Cous. The lion had been raised at the zoo since he was 8 weeks old. Another worker tried to distract the lion, to no avail, and the sheriff shot the cat to death, but it was too late for Dianna Hanson. The facility is called Project Survival Cat Haven and is run by Dale Anderson. On his website he says, “In the seventh grade a gentleman brought a Mountain Lion to my class… After that experience I wanted to have a cat of some kind at some later date.” This is why it is so bad to use wild animals as ego props, especially in the presence of children who will grow up to fulfill their desire to “be that guy,” even if it means dooming wild animals to life in cages.
Nicole Paquette, vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the victim of Wednesday’s attack should never have been in the enclosure with the animal.
“These are big cats that are extremely dangerous, and they placed a volunteer in the actual cage with a wild animal,” she said. “That should have never happened.”
Officials at another big cat sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla., told The Associated Press last year that at least 21 people, including five children, have been killed and 246 mauled by exotic cats in the United States since 1990. Over that period, 254 cats escaped and 143 were killed.