Local Survivor Describes Lion Attack
New details are coming out on Wednesday's tragic death of a 24 year-old woman near Fresno who was killed by a lion that she was taking care of at an big cat sanctuary.
Dianna Hanson was fatally mauled by a 4-year-old lion that had been at the Cat Haven Sanctuary since it was an 8-week-old cub.
When he attacked Hanson, a nearby employee tried unsuccessfully to distract the lion away from her. She died at the scene.
The founder of a local wildlife preserve was also attacked by a lion.
Kele Younger still bears the scars from the brutal mauling she suffered at a sanctuary in Florida twenty years ago.
But she still works with big cats, and told us why the tragic lion attack near Fresno never should have happened.
"The lion came out of nowhere, and grabbed me up on its hind legs and forced me to the ground," said Younger.
Kele Younger was a volunteer intern at a Florida sanctuary, when she entered the enclosure with the owner they thought the lion had been moved.
"He heard me screaming and was immediately back, jumped on the back of the lion, and pulled it by the mane to get the lion off."
Kele was saved, but the violent attack is still visible on her face.
"I have a pretty bad scar here, I have a pretty bad scar here on my lip, and up on my upper forehead I have a five inch scar."
Since then, Kele had reconstructive surgery.
"But the mental scars never go away."
So the lion attack near Fresno brought back memories.
"Pretty distraught over the facts of how this happened, because it shouldn't have happened."
Kele is the founder and director of Magic Jungle Wildlife Preserve near Yucca Valley; they have tigers, leopards, cougars and panthers.
She says volunteers and interns should never be on the same side of the enclosure as the wildlife.
"Two years ago we formulated the California Sanctuary Association in California, this sanctuary in Fresno was not one of our members, one of our protocols is that we never allow direct contact with the wildlife and any volunteers."
Kele says the lion that attacked her was trying to mate with her.
She says research shows young women working with male lions is very dangerous.
"Quite often when it's a female involved, it's something to do with estrogen that male lions sensing that, and also the menstrual cycle can also become a problem."
Kele hopes to not see anymore attacks like this, and is saddened by both the death of the lion and 24-year-old Dianna Hanson
"My condolences to the family and her loved ones because this is horrible incident, and it should have never happened."
The coroner says that Dianna Hanson died of a broken neck.
Our local sanctuary founder says a person should never turn their back on a big cat, or let them get you down on the ground.