Conservators Center fully opens to the public for the first time since a deadly lion attack

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CASWELL COUNTY, N.C. – The Conservators Center in Caswell County fully opens to the public Saturday for the first time since a deadly lion attack in December.

Alexandra Black was attacked and killed while trying to clean the lions’ habitat. The gates to the center have been closed and locked since the 22-year-old died on the property.

The question remains how the lion, named Matthai, got out of the enclosure.

The USDA is in charge of the investigations. FOX8 has asked the agency for an update on the investigation, but we are still waiting for the answers.

However, tax documents obtained by FOX8, dating back to 2015, show a significant amount of money used on safety and security.

More than $626,000 was spent on enhanced animal care and housing, hiring zookeeping staff, increasing training, constructing new habitats, additional safety and handling equipment and “retrofitting large cat habitats to new USDA requirements.”

The staff at the center also worked to make the touring barriers safe and train first responders.

In 2016, the tax documents show more than $603,000 spent on the same list of safety upgrades at the center.

In 2017, the last tax return filed, there were additional enhancements made to make sure the center was safe for both staff and visitors.

That year, more than $589,000 was spent, bringing the three-year total to over $1.8 million allocated for safety and security.

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