By Rafal Rogoza ( | First Posted: Mar 07, 2013 11:37 AM EST

A lion looks out from its enclosure at Onesti Zoo, 266km (165 miles) northeast of Bucharest, October 26, 2012. Picture taken October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

A 24-year-old intern at a private zoo in California was mauled to death by a lion.

Authorities say Dianna Hanson entered the lion's pen at Cat Haven on Wednesday and was killed by a lion who attacked her, the Associated Press reports. When police arrived on the scene Hanson was lying injured inside the pen with the lion prowling nearby.

Police shot the lion dead after zoo employees failed to lure the dangerous animal away from Hanson who was later pronounced dead, reports say. According to officials that operate the non-profit zoo, the lion that killed Hanson was a four-year old male named Cous Cous who was raised at the zoo.

The victim's father, Paul Hanson, told the Associated Press that interning at the zoo was his daughter's dream job.

"She was absolutely fearless," he said.

Dale Anderson, Cat Haven founder and executive director, read a one-sentence long statement to the press. 

 "We take every precaution to ensure the safety of our staff, animals and guests," he said. 

The zoo opened in 1993, it houses various animals including tigers and leopards. According to the Associated Press report, 21 people were killed and 246 were mauled in the U.S. by exotic cats since 1990.

© 2015 Latinos Post. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.