Lion attack: 'You can't get complacent and look at them as your pets'

WINSTON, Ore. -- A woman is dead after being mauled by a lion at a facility in California.

The 26-year-old volunteer was killed by a 4-year-old male lion after she went into his enclosure alone.

KPIC News caught up with officials at the Wildlife Safari in Winston to find out what kind of precautions they take to make sure their staff stays safe.

Officials with Safari say that they have a multitude of safety procedures in place to make sure that something similar doesn't happen at this park.

They say they have strict rules about safety, such as the rule that no keeper is allowed to go anywhere alone, and they are not allowed to be in the same enclosure as animals that are "Code 1," a classification given to the most dangeruos carnivores.

Staff members receieve extensive training before being allowed to work with the animals. "You shadow somebody else and you work around those animals, and how they shift and how they move for months before you're ever shifting an animal, actually physically yourself," said carnivore supervisor Sara Roy.

Code 1 animals include lions, tigers, and brown bears, but Roy says that many of the animals at the park can be dangerous if you let your guard down. "We know these animals, we're bonded to these animals," she said, "but you can't get complacent and look at them as your pets or a friend, because they're not. They're dangerous wild animals with huge teeth and huge claws."

Officials say the woman's death serves as a reminder of the dangers of working around wild animals. "I think it's always kind of a wake up call," said executive director Da Van slyke. "There's reasons these protocols are in place. We're really high on that, we don't deviate from that."

Van Slyke says the staff has already had a meeting on the importance of following safety procedures, following the tragic incident in California.