Indiana woman killed in lion attack remembered as 'special, beautiful person'

(Photo provided by Alex Black's family)
Indiana woman killed by lion
Lion kills Indiana woman
Woman killed by lion
Indiana woman killed by lion
Indiana woman killed by lion
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BURLINGTON, N.C. (WTHR) — An Indiana native has died after a lion attack at a conservator center in North Carolina.

The victim was 22-year-old Alexandra Black, a native of New Palestine, Indiana and a recent graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington.

Investigators are still trying to determine how a lion got loose and attacked and killed Black.

Black had only been on the job at the wildlife conservatory in North Carolina for two weeks.

The news of Alexandra Black's death hit the Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana hard.

"Alex was a three-month intern with us. She was here for the fall session. She started in September and left in December," Dana Drenzek, director at Wolf Park said Monday.

Black left to work at a Wildlife Conservatory in North Carolina.

"We actually had invited her back to do a second advanced internship here and was hoping after she was done in North Carolina she would come back here again," Drenzek said.

Black is being remembered at IU and New Palestine where she graduated from High School.

"She worked with many types of animals. Not just the guys here but she worked with other rehab centers and was a very beautiful person. We feel we have lost a very special person and its tragic," Drenzek concluded.

When they think of Alexandra at Wolf Park, they think of someone who was doing what she loved, following her passion.

Caswell County sheriffs responded to reports of a Conservator Center employee who had been attacked and killed by a lion Sunday.

Authorities say the employees at the center entered the lion enclosure for a routine cleaning, led by a professionally trained animal keeper, while the lions were kept in a locked space separate from the enclosure.

One of the lions somehow escaped the locked space and entered the enclosure, killing Black.

(Photo provided by Alex Black's family.)

Alexandra's family released this statement to Eyewitness News:

"Alex loved animals. Our beautiful, intelligent, passionate Alex had worked, unpaid, at several animal-related ventures, most recently at Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana. This was her fourth internship, because she really wanted to make a career of working with animals.

She was looking forward to this first out-of-state internship at the Conservators Center in North Carolina starting 10 days ago.

She was a beautiful young woman who had just started her career, there was a terrible accident, and we are mourning. But she died following her passion.

We ask that you consider donating to Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana, to honor Alex."

Black was a college intern and had been working at the Conservator Center for about two weeks.

It is unclear how the lion got loose from the locked space.

After several attempts to tranquilize the lion, Caswell County deputies shot and killed the lion in order to allow officials to retrieve Black.

According to an incident report filed by the sheriff's office, deputies had to shoot the lion seven times in order to get the lion to go down.

Southern Hancock Schools also shared a statement about Black's loss:

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of New Palestine High School graduate Alexandra Black. The Black family has been an important part of the New Palestine community and our schools for several years. We share in their grief and our hearts are with them as they mourn the loss of Alexandra."

Black was a graduate of Indiana University, which released a statement to Eyewitness News on Monday:

"We are deeply saddened by the death of May 2018 graduate Alexandra Black, an alumna of Indiana University using her degree in animal behavior and biology to follow her passion for serving and caring for animals. Our thoughts are with her family, friends, and everyone who knew her during this difficult time."