7 March 2013
Couscous was raised at the private park from the age of eight weeks old
A California coroner says a lion that killed a volunteer at a big cat park used its paw to lift a partially closed door and escape from a feeding cage.
Fresno County Coroner David Hadden said investigators believe the lion then attacked and killed Dianna Hanson as she cleaned a larger enclosure.
The lion broke the 24-year-old intern’s neck and she died almost instantly.
Police shot and killed the animal to reach her, believing Ms Hanson was severely injured but alive.
“The lion had been fed, the young woman was cleaning the large enclosure, and the lion was in the small cage,” Mr Hadden explained, adding the cage door was partially open, allowing the lion to lift it up with his paw.
“He ran at the young lady.”
The coroner added that bite and claw marks found on her body happened after she died, after the lion broke her neck with a paw swipe.
The facility, known as Project Survival’s Cat Haven, is normally closed on Wednesdays when the attack happened, and only one other worker was present during the mauling.
The founder of Cat Haven, Dale Anderson, said that he and two other workers had left to take a cheetah to exhibit at a local school.
Ms Hanson was identified by her father, who said working at the wildlife park had been her “dream job”, according to the Associated Press.
She had been working for two months as an intern at the 100-acre (40 ha) park, about 45 miles (75km) east of Fresno.
Her father said his daughter had experience at wildlife parks and was “at ease” with big cats, but added that she told him she would not be allowed inside the lion’s cage.
The lion was a four-year-old male named Couscous, a California Fish and Wildlife spokesman said.
Couscous had been raised at Cat Haven since he was eight weeks old, said Tanya Osegueda, a spokeswoman for Project Survival.
The project opened in 1993, and has housed numerous big cats, including Bengal tigers, Siberian lynx, jaguars and leopards.
Susan Rennisons Comment: This is the headline provided by a BBC link which seems to be quite provocative but in line with other stories such as cows learning how to by-pass gate locks and escape…. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake hypothesises that morphogenetic fields belonging to each individual species exists and is used to retain and pass around information sharing, habits and knowledge, rather like a species specific info-sharing internet (a fully accesible Facebook & Twitter for each creature held in the environment). For actual experimental ‘evidence’ see last weeks rat mental chat (Rat-Twitter) headlines. There have been many reports of ‘teaching’ e.g. dolphins released into the wild teaching others how to tail-walk but it is also believed that certain knowledge can be picked up by those in distant locations and this is the basis of the 100th Monkey principle that scientists have tried to debunk. Whatever, it is becoming very noticeable that certain animals, birds and fish are acting more intelligently and surprising humans. Therefore, the evidence suggests to me that in a time of rapid evolutionary change, those morphogenetic fields are being quickly updated by the environment too and more knowledge sharing is also passing between different species…
Note: I wonder if he was trying to play with her, if he lived around people all his life and assuming he hasn’t been subjected to abusive treatment it’s hard to believe this was an act of aggression. When cats swat it’s usually a form of play, if they’re going in for the kill they pounce on their prey with both front paws and immediately bite down to immobilize the victim.