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Intern at California animal park fatally attacked by lion

People in California often have a wide range of jobs owing to the temperate weather. Outdoor work can be year-round in many cases. This also means that some jobs that might not exist in lots of other places can be found in California -- some of them quite dangerous, leading to workplace injuries that might not be seen anywhere else.

One case in point is a woman who died this week while working at her internship in Fresno County. This was no ordinary internship: it was at Cat Haven, an animal park that houses big cats such as lions, tigers and cheetahs. The victim, a 24-year-old recent college graduate, was inside an enclosure with a 4-year-old lion, a male named Cous Cous, when the animal attacked and killed her. The lion was subsequently killed by a sheriff's deputy who had responded to the scene.

It is not known what led the cat to attack; he had been raised by hand virtually since birth and lived at the animal park ever since; he even appeared on "Ellen" with one of his handlers when he was a cub.

The woman's father issued a statement asking people to honor his daughter's memory by working to preserve the world's remaining big cats. He noted that the lion involved in the fatal attack was one of her favorites.

Her father also refers to her death in his statement as a work accident. It remains to be seen how it might be covered under workers' compensation laws because the woman was a volunteer intern at the animal park. However, anyone injured at work in any capacity can consult with a workers' compensation attorney to determine their rights under the laws of California.

Source: Q13 Fox, "Dad of wildlife intern killed by lion: 'It was her dream job'," Matt Lorch, March 6, 2013

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