North Carolina police release calls from fatal lion attack of intern
2nd January 2019
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North Carolina police release harrowing 911 calls from fatal lion attack of intern, 22, who had been working on the grounds for just 10 DAYS

  • Alexandra Black, 22, was killed while trying to clean an enclosure at the Conservators Center in Burlington
  • She had been with the center just 10 days 
  • Black was killed after the lion – named Matthai – escaped from where he was being held while his enclosure was being cleaned
  • Responders had to shoot and kill the lion after it failed to calm down from the numerous tranquilizers that were used
  • In 911 calls from the center, a caller can be heard telling the dispatcher that the lion is 14 when initially asked about the age of ‘the person that’s hurt’
  • The caller quickly answered ‘mid-twenties,’ when the mistake was realized

North Carolina police are looking over a zoo’s safety protocol after a lion broke free and killed an intern on Sunday. 

Alexandra Black, 22, was killed while trying to clean an enclosure at the Conservators Center in Burlington. She had been with the center just 10 days. 

In 911 calls from the center, a caller can be heard telling the dispatcher that the lion is 14 when initially asked about the age of ‘the person that’s hurt.’ The caller quickly answered ‘mid-twenties,’ when the mistake was realized. 


Alexandra Black, 22, was killed while trying to clean an enclosure at the Conservators Center in Burlington. She had been with the center just 10 days

Black was killed after the lion – named Matthai – escaped from where he was being held while his enclosure was being cleaned


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When asked about the woman’s condition, the person on the phone describes Black as being ‘incapacitated.’  

The person was unable to answer whether Black was away from the animal, adding that she couldn’t reach the radio of the person with the intern.  

‘Alex loved animals. Our beautiful, intelligent, passionate Alex had worked, unpaid, at several animal-related ventures,’ said her aunt, Virginia Black

Black was killed after the lion – named Matthai – escaped from where he was being held while his enclosure was being cleaned.  

Responders had to shoot and kill the lion after it failed to calm down from the numerous tranquilizers that were used. 

Since the incident, the zoo has been closed. The Caswell Sheriff’s Office is investigating the attack and on Tuesday, the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division opened their own investigation ‘to determine whether or not any occupational safety and health standards were violated and/or contributed to the incident,’ according to AOL. 

Regulated by the USDA, the Center houses more than 80 animals and employs 12 people ‘and is a hub of volunteer activity.’ The Conservators Center is not accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

In a statement on Monday, PETA demanded that non-accredited centers be shut down. 

‘Humans and captive animals will keep losing their lives as long as unaccredited roadside zoos like the so-called ‘Conservators Center’ keep imprisoning dangerous animals for entertainment,’ PETA said. 

Black graduated in May 2018 from Indiana University with a degree in animal sciences

Black graduated in May 2018 from Indiana University with a degree in animal sciences, a school representative told NBC News. 

‘Alex loved animals. Our beautiful, intelligent, passionate Alex had worked, unpaid, at several animal-related ventures,’ said her aunt, Virginia Black. 

Virginia and her niece had just recently interned at the nearby Wolf Park. The family has asked that all donations be made to the Indiana park, who said that Black would ‘be remembered as a strong, compassionate and dedicated woman with a heart-warming smile.’      

Virginia and her niece had just recently interned at the nearby Wolf Park. The family has asked that all donations be made to the Indiana park, who said that Black would ‘be remembered as a strong, compassionate and dedicated woman with a heart-warming smile’

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