State fines Conservators Center after lion attack that killed intern

The North Carolina Department of Labor has cited the Conservators Center in Caswell County, following the lion attack last December that killed an intern.

An inspection by the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health unit found that "other employees were exposed to the hazards that existed at the center."

The center was cited for three serious violations and fined $3,000.

Intern Alexandra Black, 22, was mauled to death during a routine cleaning on Dec. 30.

She was a recent graduate of Indiana University and had been employed at the Conservator Center for about two weeks.

According to a police report, it ultimately took three tranquilizer darts and eight shotgun rounds to put down the lion, named Matthai.

The North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner found that Matthai was able to get access to Black because a ball blocked the gate that was supposed to keep the lion secured while workers cleaned its enclosure.

The Conservators Center has 15 working days from receipt of the citation to request an informal conference with the Labor Department, to file a notice of contest with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission of North Carolina or to pay the penalty.
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