A lion that escaped its enclosure and killed one person Sunday at a North Carolina preserve was fatally shot, according to a news release from the Conservators Center.
Officials with the Conservators Center said in the release that the lion was shot and killed to let emergency responders get the person who had been attacked.
The victim was identified as Alexandra Black, WTVD reported. The 22-year-old from New Palestine, Indiana, had worked at the center for about two weeks.
In the news release, the Conservators Center said it was “devastated by the loss of a human life.”
The lion escaped during a “routine cleaning” of its enclosure by “a professionally trained animal keeper,” officials said in the news release.
After escaping, officials said the lion “quickly killed a person,” according to the news release.
The Caswell County Sheriff’s Office said attempts at tranquilizing the lion were unsuccessful, and deputies used deadly force to retrieve Black’s body, ABC News reported.
There is no word how the lion escaped the “locked enclosure,” but an investigation is underway, per the news release.
The Conservators Center is located in Burlington, N.C., according to its website. It was founded in 1999 in Mebane, and relocated to a 45-acre site in Caswell County in 2001, where it currently is home to more than “80 animals, and … 21 species,” per the website.
By 2004, the animal population included more than 30 lions and tigers, the center reports on its website, adding it has more than a dozen employees.
The center is “closed until further notice,” according to the news release.
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