A lion housed in a North Carolina Conservancy killed a 22-year-old worker on Sunday after breaking free from a locked field, authorities said.
The Caswell County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that MPs shot and killed the lion to allow officials to reach the victim, who was identified as Alexandra Black of New Palestine, Ind.
According to the Conservators Center, a "team" headed by a professionally trained zookeeper performed a routine cleanup by Leo got out The center said it was not immediately clear how the lion left the area.
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. "The Conservators Center is today destroyed by the loss of a human life," said the statement, adding that the center would remain closed until further notice.
Black, a graduate of Indiana State University, had worked as an intern at the center for about two weeks at the time of her death.
According to its website, the Conservators Center hosts 15 lions and a total of over 80 animals.
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The facility was established in 1999 and is located in Burlington, about 50 miles northwest of Raleigh.
On its website, the center announced that it was conducting public tours in 2007, receiving more than 16,000 visitors annually. It has more than a dozen employees and currently houses more than 80 animals and more than 21 species.
According to the center, 14 lions and tigers were added in 2004 to help the US Department of Agriculture care for the animals living in it "unacceptable conditions."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.