The center said the lion had fled a locked enclosure during a routine clean-up.
In a statement received by CNN affiliate WXIN Sunday, Black's family said she had died "by her passion" Loved animals Our beautiful, intelligent, passionate Alex had worked unpaid in various animal related projects, most recently at Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana, and this was her fourth internship because she absolutely wanted to work with animals.
According to the sheriff's office, Black was born in New Palestine, Indiana.
She started at the Conservators Center 1
"She was a beautiful young woman who had just started her career, there was a terrible accident and we are mourning," said the family.
They asked that people should consider donating to Wolf Park in honor of Black.
Conservators Center & # 39; Devastated & # 39;
The Conservators Center previously said a team led by a trained animal keeper cleaned the lion's enclosure when the attack took place.
"The Conservators Center is today destroyed by the loss of a human life," the center said.
"And this person wanted to spend a lifetime with these animals," Stinner said in an emotional press conference.
Black was not an employee, but according to Stinner, he worked under the supervision of an employee.
Male lion shot and killed
The male lion was euthanized, Stinner said. It was unclear how the lion escaped, the center said.
Stinner said all big cats are trapped in a separate area of humans during routine cleanings.
"At no time did the lion enter a room that was not fenced off by the fence," she said.
Stinner said the visitors had been in the park, but the officers had taken them safely and quickly out of the park.
"This is not a situation we have ever had before, safety is a very, very important feature to operate a zoological park," she said.
The center is closed until further notice.
The Zoological Park is home to more than 80 animals, including tigers, small wild cats and other small predators, according to its website. It offers guided walks near the animal enclosure. According to Stinner, the park is under the US Department of Agriculture.
Stinner, a pedagogue, founded the center in 1999 in Mebane, North Carolina as a nonprofit organization to provide home to selected predatory species, according to the Center's website. It was relocated to a 45-acre strip of land in 2004, the site said.
Stinner said that they initially started rescue and protection work, but moved away from this focus and worked with more species to involve the community more.
"We are seeing a kind of community zoo," she said
The center is closed until further notice, officials said.
"We need to assess our situation, and we need to make sure everyone here is safe and secure," Stinner said, "because this is a very scary thing."
Lechelle Benken of CNN contributed to this report.