A 22-year-old woman was killed by a lion on Sunday at a U.S. park after the animal escaped from a locked enclosure, local media reported.
Alexandra Black had started as an intern at the Conservators Centre in North Carolina only two weeks ago, the sheriff's office in Caswell County said in a statement cited by broadcaster CBS.
The animal park said it was "devastated by the loss of human life today."
"While a husbandry team led by a professionally trained animal keeper was carrying out a routine enclosure cleaning, one of the lions somehow left a locked space and entered the space the humans were in and quickly killed one person," it said in a statement.
"It is unclear at this time how the lion left the locked enclosure," it continued, adding that the lion had never escaped from the park's perimeter fence.
Several attempts to tranquilize the lion failed, and it was later shot dead to allow officials to retrieve the body.
The park was closed until further notice.
Black had recently graduated from Indiana State University.
In a statement quoted by media, her family said she was "a beautiful young woman who had just started her career."
"She died following her passion," they continued and asked mourners to donate to the Wolf Park research facility in Indiana, where Black had also interned.