A 22-year-old intern at a North Carolina zoo was killed Sunday after a lion escaped a locked space. The Conservators Center in Burlington announced that the intern was killed during a routine cleaning of an animal enclosure at about 11:30 a.m. ET. The intern was identified by the Caswell County Sheriff’s Office as Alexandra Black, 22, a native of New Palestine, Indiana, and was a recent graduate of Indiana State University.
The zoo said in a statement: “while a husbandry team led by a professionally trained animal keeper was carrying out a routine enclosure cleaning, one of the lions somehow left a locked space and entered the space the humans were in and quickly killed one person. The Conservators Center is devastated by the loss of a human life today.”
The lion was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies, and the center said it is investigating how the lion escaped its enclosure.
The zoo will be closed until further notice.