UPDATE: Brier Woman Killed at Wild Cat Park Worked as Shoreline Lifeguard

Dianna Hanson, 24, was an intern at the private wild animal park in Central California, King 5 reports.


UPDATE, 7:20 a.m. March 7: Dianna Hanson, the 24-year-old Brier woman killed at a wild cat refuge in Dunlap, Calif., Wednesday, also worked as a lifeguard for the city of Shoreline. Her Facebook page notes that she had worked as a lifeguard for the city since 2005. The city of Shoreline operates a public pool at 19030 1st Avenue NE, offering public swimming, swim lessons, exercise and lifeguard training.

Also Wednesday, Hanson’s father, Paul Hanson, issued the following statement:

“Today, my beloved daughter Dianna (age 24) was killed in a work accident at Cat Haven, a big cat refuge near Dunlap, CA. She was killed while working in the lion’s cage. It’s made the national news.

“Dianna really loved her 6-month internship at Cat Haven. She and I drove down there from Seattle on Jan 1 & 2 She was so excited at working in Cat Haven and living in California. Once there, she gave me the tour and showed me all the big cats there with which she would be working. Of course, Dianna being Dianna, her favorites were the tiger and the lion, CouCous, who killed her today. You can see on her Facebook page all the big cats she loved so much down there. Especially the linx and the very docile cheetah, Tango. He’s in a lot of her posted photos.

“Please honor Dianna’s memory by helping her favorite cause: preserving the remaining big cats in the world. She would ask us to do that for her.

“Di, we will always love you. And we will miss you so much. But I know that you will be happy. For now, you truly are in the eternal “Cat Haven”

“I love you



Original story:

Dianna Hanson, 24, of Brier, was killed Wednesday in an attack by a lion at a private wild animal park near Fresno, CA., according to media reports.

According to Hanson's Facebook page, she was an intern at Project Survival's Cat Haven, Her Facebook descriptions are lighthearted. About her position at Cat Haven, she said: "I'm pretty handy with a poop spoon."

King 5 news reported that Hanson, who loved wild cats since she was a child, was a graduate of Mountlake Terrace High School and Western Washington University (2011).

According to the King 5 report, "investigators were trying to determine why the intern was inside the enclosure and what might have provoked the attack, sheriff's Sgt. Greg Collins said. The facility is normally closed on Wednesdays, and only one other worker was there when the mauling happened, he said."

Hanson grew up in Lynwood.

The 100-acre California facility was permitted for the cats, and the 4-year-old lion that apparently mauled her, Couscous, was raised since he was a cub, according to King 5. Friends and supporters of the park and Dianna shared their thoughts on its Facebook page. The lion was shot and killed by deputies when park workers couldn't lure the lion away from Hanson after she was injured.

Read the complete King 5 coverage here.

Brad H. March 07, 2013 at 11:07 PM
Terrible story, but that statement from her dad seems oddly upbeat. For a man who JUST lost his daugher, the tone of it seems so...casual and nonchalant. Maybe the poor guy is in shock and it hasn't sunk in yet that she is truly "gone"??
Jeanne Gustafson March 08, 2013 at 03:18 AM
@Brad, I don't think it's unusual for a family to express a measured statement in what is surely a difficult personal tragedy that becomes national news, so I hope you'll be able to find some empathy for them. To Meridian, please, though I understand strong emotions, Let us refrain from comments that take away from the story by including masked profanity. I have a daughter close to Dianna's age, and I can't begin to imagine how I would handle a similar situation. I hope for the family the comfort of family and friends right now.
Don March 08, 2013 at 05:31 AM
I agree Brad. Very odd statement he made. Meridian, you have issues.
Brad H. March 08, 2013 at 04:08 PM
I didn't mean for my statement to sound like I was being an a-hole. I also have a daughter, and I would be a total wreck if anything happened to her. It's just that his statement sounds SO measured, that it really stuck out to me. I did end it by wondering if maybe he was in shock, any my "poor guy" reference honestly wasn't meant to be sarcastic. At any rate, my apologies to any who took offense to what I said, and again- a sad and terrible story.
Jeanne Gustafson March 08, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Thanks, Brad. I can't even imagine having to deal with such a tragedy.
northernlights March 08, 2013 at 06:01 PM
your comment was not out of line. you expressed what you feel, it's called freedom of speech!
northernlights March 08, 2013 at 06:06 PM
what provoked the attack, you wonder!?! maybe it was simply because a lion is a WILD ANIMAL!! how can the simplest things be soo damn complicated for some people to understand. this is what happens when we get too comfortable with wild animals!!


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