A zoo employee has been killed by a lion after the animal escaped from its enclosure.
The lion was shot dead following the attack.
Alexandra Black, 22, of New Palestine, Indiana, was killed on Sunday after being attacked by the lion in an enclosure that was being cleaned at the Conservators Centre in North Carolina.
‘While a husbandry team led by a professionally trained animal keeper was carrying out a routine enclosure cleaning, one of the lions somehow left a locked space and entered the space the humans were in and quickly killed one person,’ the zoo said in a statement.
Mindy Stinner, the executive director of the Conservators Centre, said: ‘This is the worst day of my life.
‘We’ve lost a person. We’ve lost an animal. We have lost the faith in ourselves a little today.’
Miss Black had graduated from Indiana University in May with a degree in animal behaviour, according to her LinkedIn page.
Her family said in a statement: ‘She was a beautiful young woman who had just started her career, there was a terrible accident, and we are mourning.
‘But, she died following her passion.’