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Lion Mauls Volunteer At Exotic Cat Haven: 'Someone Just Got Too Close'

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An African lion mauled a worker at an exotic cat haven in California's Central Valley today.Fresno County Emergency Medical Services received a call around 12:30 p.m. today reporting that a lion had attacked the worker at Project Survival's Cat Haven, according to the Fresno Bee. But it was clear that the worker wouldn't survive the attack even before paramedics were able to make it to the scene. His Her name and hometown have not been released.

Cat Haven is located about 45 miles west of Fresno, and it's the home to some of the rarest tigers, leopards, lions, jaguars and cheetahs in the world. It was started in 1998 with an eye toward helping to promote conservation of wild cats' habitats. The exotic wildlife park is just west of Kings Canyon National Park, and it sits on about 93 acres of land. The animals are housed in cages on hillsides and 10,000 visitors a year come to visit them.

Lt. Tony Spada of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the workers' death and told the Bee that the facility has several safety measures in place to prevent this sort of death. Spada said, "This facility has a very good history. In this case, someone just got too close."

Law enforcement sources shot the lion when they arrived at the scene, according to a local Fox affiliate KMPH. A necropsy will be conducted on the lion.

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UPDATE 4:20: The "worker" killed was actually a volunteer intern at the sanctuary. Dale Anderson, the executive director of Cat Haven, told NBC: "A female volunteer intern entered the lion's enclosure, where she was attacked and fatally injured. The lion was shot and killed per our safety protocols." Another employee was there at the scene.

When paramedics arrived, her body was still inside the cage.