March 7th, 2013
11:32 PM ET

Victim's dad: More love for big cats now

On Wednesday, 24-year-old Dianna Hanson was killed by a lion at the California sanctuary where she had been volunteering as an intern for several months. The male African lion named Couscous was shot by a sheriff's deputy after the attack.

Hanson's father and brother said she was living her dream and was the happiest their family had ever seen her in the time before her death. They wanted to share memories of her with Anderson Cooper to help cope with their tragic loss.

"About 7 years old, she just developed a fixation on tigers ... She used to tell everyone she was going to grow up and study Siberian Snow Tigers in Siberia," said her father Paul Hanson.

He told Anderson that although his "fearless" daughter loved going into the cages at previous jobs with lions, he was always scared they would turn on her.

Asked if his view on the animals has changed, Paul Hanson said he has more love and interest for them than ever before. "I will always think of her now whenever I see a lion or a tiger or a big cat. These were the loves of her life," he said.

If people wish to show support for the work Dianna was doing, donations can be made to Project Survival Cat Haven.

Watch Hanna: We must respect wild animals

Filed under: Wild Animals
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