Volunteer keeper lost her life today...

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Kapidolo Farms

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emysemys said:
It's a breaking news story, so I don't have all the details yet, but at the Cat Haven today a volunteer keeper was found dead in the lion cage, with the lion. The lion had to be shot and killed.

This is Cous Cous about three years ago with Dale, the owner of the Cat Haven and I:

3takingCousCousforwalk-NoteturtleT-.jpg


Cous Cous was a rare Barbary Coast lion and was raised by Dale from a cub. The Barbary coast lions are extinct in the wild. I don't know why the volunteer was inside the cage with the lion.

Aside from the content of this thread, that's a cute picture emysemys.

Will
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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You see all these pictures on Facebook elsewhere of people playing around with full-grown carnivores. They make it seem so fun and safe, but it's not. It's no game, and its' very dangerous, and must be taken seriously with the appropriate precautions.
 

mctlong

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Horrible situation, all around.

I don't think the Sheriff was in the wrong for killing the lion. Its very sad, but human life comes first, and if there was a chance of saving that girl, I would've done the same thing.

Its sad that the lion was killed for acting like a lion. Clearly there was some human error at fault since the lion cannot be held responsible for acting on its instincts. Maybe the intern should have been trained better or maybe maintenance crews should have inspected safety gates more closely - who knows. I do hope that they get to the bottom of the situation and find out what went wrong so it doesn't happen again.

I'm also not a fan sea world. I went to the one in San Diego once and never went back. The use of whales like that for entertainment was disturbing and the animals themselves looked sickly and lethargic.
 

Zabbi0

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This is very confusing and sad. I wonder how her neck was broken. Very very sad.
 

theelectraco

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That article is really confusing and leaves out a lot of information that would help the article make sense
 

mctlong

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Not surprising that she died of a broken neck. Lions go for the neck. Thats how they kill their prey.

Very sad. :(
 

DeanS

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F**K F&G for shooting Cous Cous! The volunteer was already dead! Her neck could have been broken by the swipe of a paw...he could have swung two directions at once, snapping her neck...she could have broke her neck hitting the ground...or he could've held on to her head with his mouth and twisted her body thus breaking her neck! What was the necessity in shooting him after the fact! He wasn't hampering. He was secluded in HIS domain! As a zoo veteran, let me tell you would be female keepers and volunteers. Sorry if this comes off a bit crass...but stay away from predators when menstruating! This is also a good practice around the great apes...especially orangs! My heart bleeds for Dale! I'm so pissed at F&G right now...I could spit!
 

CourtneyAndCarl

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mctlong said:
Horrible situation, all around.

I don't think the Sheriff was in the wrong for killing the lion. Its very sad, but human life comes first, and if there was a chance of saving that girl, I would've done the same thing.

I'm also not a fan sea world. I went to the one in San Diego once and never went back. The use of whales like that for entertainment was disturbing and the animals themselves looked sickly and lethargic.

While I can understand that, from the sounds of it the girl was very obviously diseased before the first responders even arrived, the other volunteer said in the 911 call that she was already dead.

And just to bring it back to the Sea World incident, I do believe Tilikum dragged Dawn Brancheau's body around various pools in the stadium for almost an hour before they finally coaxed him into releasing her body. But then again, you can't possibly shoot your biggest breeding asset when you are always needing new killer whales, right?

Makes me sick.


Just saw on the news that he opened the gate himself and killed her with one swipe of his paw?

I highly doubt that he would have been able to open the gate if it was closed properly... seeing as there was only one eye witness who is almost certainly trying to cover up her own mistakes as well, I am willing to bet the gate wasn't closed properly.
 

ascott

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Sorry if this comes off a bit crass...but stay away from predators when menstruating! This is also a good practice around the great apes...especially orangs!

Dean you are absolutely correct in this....not that we know if this had anything to do with anything in this story??? but a very true statement with working with any unaltered male of a variety of mammal species....none of the ladies should be offended by this statement at all....and it may even offer up a piece of advise that some may not have ever thought of....as a young lady working obedience with some unaltered "very" male :D shepherds and also shutzhund training one summer---this is a very good piece of advice to give and can be the difference between a good or bad experience for all involved....:p

A side story; I was about 15 years old, took on a cash for work deal with a lady that ran a kennel for folks on vacation and such....was hired to simply clean kennels (poo and pee removal, blanket replacement, water bowl cleaning and filling) and such, well I encountered my first entirely male, intact 2 1/2 year old big block headed, sexually frustrated true pit bull---he was truly an awesome sight,..well, as I cleaned runs approaching his, he climbed onto his wood dog house and began to shred pieces of it off---frothing, drooling and making noises I had not heard from a dog...it was summer, so figured he was just overheating? lol...well, he was but for different reasons, as I learned upon entering his kennel...within about 5 seconds he was leaping from the top of the dog house flying through the run and was completely wrapped around my leg/thigh and head pressed against my thigh/hip area, humping away....I know, sounds hilarious---and knowing now, was completely predictable...so I had the rake/broom and pooper scooper in hand....I slammed the gate behind me going into his run, laughing at the look in his face (not realizing that this could have gone really bad) trying to keep my balance---then gave him a shove--and all that did was make him hold on even more---so I slide the rake handle between my leg and him and in a few times I was able to literally pry his body away from my body while backing to the gate---I gave a hell of a push on the rake, he slide off of me and I leaped to freedom out the gate while slamming it behind me....so yes, ladies a male of a variety of species can tell you are female right away, and if your body is performing completely female functions, they will absolutely know it before you are close...

I also do not think that there will be anyone that will be able to exactly tell what transpired that exact moment for this young lady and young lion....all we can do is wish some peace for the family of the young lady as well as peace for the man Dale that will also miss his lion friend....


Laura, the initial news release said that at the time of the incident, there were only two volunteers present and that the second volunteer is who called authorities .....?
 

bigred

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It was just on the 11 o clock news here in Fullerton Ca. They said she was cleaning an enclosure next to the lion and he lifted the fence to get to her. Im not sure if this is what happend, just letting you guys know what they said
 

Zabbi0

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Yes. I'm still interested in more information as to how this happened. Is that wrong of me? Not trying to be nosy- I just wish I knew what went wrong. Maybe it's a closure thing for everyone involved to know exactly what went wrong. I really do hope everyone involved can find peace. My heart has been very heavy for the volunteers family as well as for Dale. I am 24yrs old as well and volunteer at shelters sometimes and can relate to some extent and my heart just aches for Dale as well. It's hard for anyone to lose any animal you've had, especially one you have raised. They're still your baby. Lion or not. You grow very attached and this had to have been very traumatic for him.
 

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bigred said:
It was just on the 11 o clock news here in Fullerton Ca. They said she was cleaning an enclosure next to the lion and he lifted the fence to get to her. Im not sure if this is what happend, just letting you guys know what they said

Actually, she was cleaning Cous Cous's enclosure (the lion in question). The lion was inside his house with the door closed and he somehow got the door open. Whether she didn't lock it properly or it was defective, is still under investigation.
 

DeanS

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emysemys said:
bigred said:
It was just on the 11 o clock news here in Fullerton Ca. They said she was cleaning an enclosure next to the lion and he lifted the fence to get to her. Im not sure if this is what happend, just letting you guys know what they said

Actually, she was cleaning Cous Cous's enclosure (the lion in question). The lion was inside his house with the door closed and he somehow got the door open. Whether she didn't lock it properly or it was defective, is still under investigation.

Somehow the door got open? If it was locked properly...there's no issue. Lions are smart and damn powerful, but they can't get through 9 gauge chain link...and they can't rip a door off its slider.
I hope they do a drug test on her blood...assuming there's any left. I'd be curious to know if she was under the influence of anything!
 

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DeanS said:
I hope they do a drug test on her blood...assuming there's any left. I'd be curious to know if she was under the influence of anything!

DeanS, your comments reveal an incredible degree of insensitivity to the tragic loss of human life. I get that you value animal life over human life, and I get that you have no inhibitions about blaming the victim. Still, you wouldn't have to be mean-spirited about it.
 

Yvonne G

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Her family is being very forgiving about the whole situation. I read a news article this a.m. where the family said she had died doing something she loved doing and caring for the big cats that she loved. The family are not blaming anyone or even the cat. They said they feel Cous Cous was just playing with her, and with one big swipe of his paw, broke her neck. The few scratches and cuts were made after she was dead and did not look, to the medical examiner, like the lion had tried to eat or attack her, but were made during play.

The picture I'm getting from all the articles I've read is that Cous Cous manipulated the sliding door and got out. This says to me, that the door wasn't closed and fastened properly. But its still under investigation, so they may find that the latch was faulty.
 

Lelalu

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emysemys said:
The picture I'm getting from all the articles I've read is that Cous Cous manipulated the sliding door and got out. This says to me, that the door wasn't closed and fastened properly. But its still under investigation, so they may find that the latch was faulty.

For this reason, all big cat enclosures should have a secondary door system. That way there are two barriers the cat has to get through to get to you. This is what the AZA recommends, and you couldn't pay me enough money to go into an enclosure unless they had secondary containment!

Hopefully this will unfortunate loss will mean better safety protocols are established.
 

Kerryann

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emysemys said:
Her family is being very forgiving about the whole situation. I read a news article this a.m. where the family said she had died doing something she loved doing and caring for the big cats that she loved. The family are not blaming anyone or even the cat. They said they feel Cous Cous was just playing with her, and with one big swipe of his paw, broke her neck. The few scratches and cuts were made after she was dead and did not look, to the medical examiner, like the lion had tried to eat or attack her, but were made during play.

The picture I'm getting from all the articles I've read is that Cous Cous manipulated the sliding door and got out. This says to me, that the door wasn't closed and fastened properly. But its still under investigation, so they may find that the latch was faulty.

I read that the family said that and that she wouldn't have wanted the lion to be put down. They are really amazing people from what I am reading.
 
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