We're learning more about the young woman killed in a lion attack at a local big cat sanctuary on Wednesday.
The victim has been identified as 24-year old Dianna Hanson of Washington. She'd been interning at the Project Survival Cat Haven in Dunlap for the past two months.
There are still a lot of questions right now about the moments that lead up to the attack. At this point its not clear why Hanson was inside the enclosure. But what is clear is what her family had to say, she absolutely loved what she doing and loved working with the animals.
The 24-year-old's father says she was living her dream working at Project Survival's Cat Haven. She'd been interning there since January, a job that was supposed to last through the summer.
Around 12:30 in the afternoon Wednesday a 911 call came in about an attack at the Cat Haven. When Fresno sheriff's deputies arrived, they found Hanson badly injured inside the lion enclosure and the male African lion Cous Cous still near her.
According to investigators another employee had made several attempts to distract Cous Cous away from Hanson but failed to do so. At that point deputies shot and killed the lion to try and save Hanson's life, but she died soon after.
Hanson was a graduate of Western Washington University and according to her family, cared for some privately owned lions and tigers during her college years. Her father says working at Project Survival was the happiest Hanson had ever been.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife says this is the first time they can recall anything like this happening at the haven. Officials say Project Survival's facilities have met all their requirements for housing wild animals.
The Fresno Sheriff's Office and the Department of Fish and Wildlife are running side by side investigations. Meanwhile the Project Survival family is grieving their loss.
Some background for you about Project Survival, it was founded in 1993, and its mission is to protect threatened and endangered wild cats. It also specializes in education and is not considered a rescue organization.
Project Survival was closed at the time of the attack and will remain closed until further notice.
The owner of Project Survival Cat Haven also says putting the lion down was in line with the organization's safety regulations.