Cous Cous, a 5-year old male lion that had once sat on Ellen Degeneres’s lap as she fed him a bottle on her afternoon talk show, had to be destroyed after killing a 24-year old keeper at the Cat Haven Zoo in Fresno. Zoo officials said that they had to shoot him in order to retrieve the young woman’s body.
According to Fresno County Coroner, David Hadden, Dianna Hanson had her neck broken and was mauled by the big cat as she cleaned out his change, although no one knows what triggered the attack.
“The lion had been fed, the young woman was cleaning out the large enclosure, and Cous Cous was in a small cage. The gate of the cage was partially open, which allowed him to lift it up with his paw, stated Hadden. “He just ran at her.
Hanson, called a “fearless lover of big cats” by her father Paul Hanson, died instantly. She had only been working at Cat Haven, a 100-acre exotic zoo for two months, and had considered it to be her “dream job.”
“She was disappointed because she said they wouldn’t let her into the cages with the lion and tiger there,” he reported, and added that her love for the big cats was apparent on her Facebook page, which was filled with photos of her petting them.
Cous Cous had lived at Cat Haven since he was 8 weeks old, and despite a lifetime around humans, he remained a wild animal, and acted accordingly.