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BURLINGTON, N.C. – A recent Indiana University grad employed at a conservation center in North Carolina was killed by a lion on Sunday.

22-year-old Alexandra Black, a native of New Palestine, was attacked and killed following a routine enclosure cleaning. Police say one of the lions somehow left a locked space and quickly killed Black.

At this time, it’s unclear how the lion was able to get out of the enclosure.

Deputies at the scene shot and killed the lion after several attempts to tranquilize it failed.

Black was a former intern for the center and had been employed for around two weeks. Her family released the following statement:

“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 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.”