• A lion escaped from an enclosure and killed a worker at the Conservators Center, a wildlife non-profit in North Carolina in the US.
  • The lion was shot and killed after it attacked the worker in an enclosure that was being cleaned, Associated Press reports.
  • Officials are withholding the name of the victim until the family is notified.

A lion has escaped from its enclosure at a wildlife conservatory in North Carolina in the United States and attacked and killed a worker, Associated Press reported on Sunday.

The lion was shot and killed after it escaped during a routine cleaning of its enclosure at the Conservators Center in Burlington, North Carolina AP reports citing a statement released by the Center.

A report from North Carolina's ABC 11, citing "officials," said a husbandry team led by an animal keeper had been carrying out the cleaning a single animal left a locked area.

It's not known for certain how the animal managed to get loose from its locked enclosure.

"The Conservators Center is devastated by the loss of a human life today," the centre said.

The non-profit centre has been closed until further notice.

Officials in Caswell County confirmed the attack and the death of the worker to WRAL.

The lion was shot and killed to safely allow emergency workers to retrieve the victim, whose identity has not yet been made public.

"This is an ongoing investigation, we have no further details at this time, and the family has not yet been notified. We will offer more information as we know more," the statement said.

Representatives for the Conservators Center and Caswell Country were not immediately available to respond to INSIDER's requests for comment.

In 2004 the centre accepted an intake of 14 lions and tigers living in "unacceptable conditions," from the US Department of Agriculture.

The Conservators Center was founded in 1999 and is home to more than 80 animals, including lions and tigers, some of which had been living in "unacceptable conditions," before being relocated to the centre, according to its website. Its mission is to educate visitors about the species in its care, and more than 16,000 people visit the centre every year, the website adds.

Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: