Lion killed zoo intern after gate was blocked by large ball

Lion killed zoo intern after gate was blocked by large ball

February 22, 2019

The lion who mauled a 22-year-old intern to death at a North Carolina zoo in December was able to escape his enclosure because the gate didn’t close properly, a report said.

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The 14-year-old beast named Matthai was placed in a pen within an enclosure at the Conservators Center in Burlington but a large ball blocked the gate and prevented it from closing completely, according to a medical examiner’s report obtained by WRAL-TV.

The lion jumped out and grabbed intern Alex Black by the ankle, pulling her into his pen, the report said.

Fire department staff tried to separate the animal and Black but were unsuccessful, Lt. Eugene Riddick said in the report.

The lion dragged Black around the enclosure by her neck “for an extended amount of time,” the report said.

They tried sedating it with darts, and when those didn’t work, shot the beast eight times.

Black died because of the deep cuts to her neck that caused her to lose a lot of blood, the report said.

A lawyer for the Conservators Center denied that a ball had blocked the enclosure from closing the day of the Dec. 30 attack.

“The report that the gate to the enclosure from which Matthai escaped was obstructed from closing by a 28-inch enrichment ball is neither accurate nor plausible,” attorney Patrick Kane said in a statement.

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