State, federal agents investigating Conservators Center after deadly lion attack

Conservators Center (WGHP file photo)

CASWELL COUNTY, N.C. — Both the federal and state government are investigating the Conservators Center in Caswell County where a 22-year-old intern was mauled to death in a lion attack.

It’s been week-and-a-half since Alex Black was fatally attacked by a lion while cleaning out an enclosure area. The center has said a 14-year-old male lion named Matthai somehow escaped a locked area.

The Center has been operating under a USDA license, and WTVD has been told the USDA has been out to the center. There was an initial delay because of the government shutdown.

The North Carolina Department of Labor, which oversees OSHA, is also investigating the center and said the case is a priority.

Authorities had questioned whether Matthai had rabies. Last week, the lion was sent to the Rollins Lab in Raleigh. WTVD was told the test came back negative.

The Conservators Center announced Wednesday it plans to reopen on Jan. 19.

That opening date is only for people who purchased tickets for this weekend’s Tree Toss which had to be canceled because of weather.

That date could be delayed if a USDA inspection is not completed on time.

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