Intern killed by lion at NC wildlife center had a passion for working with animals

Alexandra Black (LinkedIn) 

BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- A young woman who was killed by a lion at a North Carolina wildlife center is being remembered for her passionate pursuit of a career working with animals.

Authorities say 22-year-old Alexandra Black of New Palestine, Indiana, was killed by the lion during a routine cleaning Sunday at the Conservators Center near Burlington. 

She had started interning at the facility about two weeks ago.

Related: 22-year-old worker killed by lion at North Carolina wildlife conservatory, officials say

According to a statement from her family, the recent college graduate had also interned at a wolf research center in Indiana. 

"She was a beautiful young woman who had just started her career, there was a terrible accident, and we are mourning," Black's family said in a statement, according to news outlets. "But, she died following her passion."

The North Carolina center's executive director, Mindy Stinner, told reporters Sunday that Black wanted to spend her life working with animals and that her family supported her passion.  

Stinner says that Black was working under staff supervision when she was attacked.