TODAY | March 07, 2013
>>> closed as officials investigate what caused a lion to attack and kill a young worker. diana is there with the story. good morning.
>> reporter: thank you. family members confirm the victim as 24-year-old dianna hanson and just started intern ing in january with the cat she loved best. the gate is closed. the fresno animal park is a crime scene after a deadly mauling of a volunteer.
>> at approximately 8:00 p.m ., a female volunteer intern entered the lion enclosure where she was attacked.
>> when my deputies entered on scene, the victim was still in the enclosure.
>> reporter: family members say the victim is 24-year-old dianna hanson and said she always loved big cats and it was a dream come true. attempts to distract the lion away didn't work and deputies shot the lion and by then it was too late.
>> it was deceased.
>> reporter: they identified him as 4-year-old cooscos. and was even on the ellen degenerative show. since 1990 , at least 21 people have been killed by exotic cats. 246 people have been mauled. while the department of fisheries and wildlife says it has a good record but quick to point out the risk these animals pose.
>> they're lion, wild animals . as they investigation how hanson e ended up inside the enclosure, the park staff copes with their staggering loss.
>> our thoughts and prayers go out to our friend and her family.
>> we're expecting to learn much more what led up to the attack today from the sheriff's department.
>> dianna, thank you very much.