Coroner: Woman In Cat Haven Lion Attack Died Of Broken Neck - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Coroner: Woman In Cat Haven Lion Attack Died Of Broken Neck

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Dianna Hanson, the volunteer killed at Project Survival Cat Haven / Credit: Facebook Dianna Hanson, the volunteer killed at Project Survival Cat Haven / Credit: Facebook
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) -

The woman who was attacked by a 4-year-old male lion at a Fresno County cat conservation on Wednesday died instantly of a broken neck, according to results from an autopsy completed on Thursday by the Fresno County coroner.

Dianna Hanson, a 24-year-old intern working at Project Survival Cat Haven in Dunlap, died quickly and did not suffer from wounds inflicted on her in the attack.

"This is a tragic case for us. There are indications that it was a very quick death and she did not suffer," said Coroner David Hadden.

Hadden estimated that the lion named Cous Cous weighed about 550 pounds and was capable of tossing Hanson around.

"This is very rare for us to see," Hadden said. "We have been prepared for something like this with a mountain lion, but for an African lion, it is very, very unusual."

Hanson, of Lynnwood, Wash., was inside of an enclosure when she was attacked by the lion, according to reports from the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

By Thursday afternoon, it was not immediately known why Hansen was inside of the lion enclosure.

But her death has prompted investigations from several government agencies looking to discover why the incident happened.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has said that Cat Haven, which is regulated by the same standards as circuses and zoos, has routinely passed annual permitting inspections.

Cat Haven, a 100-acre facility in the Fresno County foothills, has been open since 1993. It houses rare, large cat species such as tigers, cheetahs, lions and leopards.

In an interview with KMPH news partner Fox News earlier this year, Cat Haven president Wendy Debbas said the mission of Cat Haven has been to raise awareness.

"We strive to do is raise awareness and funding for issues and scientists who work with cats in the wild,"  Debbas said. "Cat conservation is different from some other animals cats learn how to hunt how to stay safe by being taught by their mother it's not an instinctual thing"

The Fish and Wildlife Department has a veterinarian that is performing an necropsy on Cous Cous.

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