One week after a young intern was mauled to death by a lion at California’s Cat Haven sanctuary, the victim’s parents are reassuring the public that their daughter died “doing what she loved.”
Elizabeth Baker, a volunteer intern at the sanctuary, died on March 6th when a five year old Lion tore her apart as she was cleaning its enclosure, a development her parents believe would have been a dream come true.
“Have no doubt; we’re living every parent’s nightmare” said a tearful Gale Baker, mother of the 22 year old victim. “But we draw strength from knowing that, while we struggle with what has happened, it’s everything our daughter ever wanted.”
“It was her dream to be working up close and personal with those animals” said her father Paul. “She loved big cats, and she always used to talk about being brutally murdered by them.”
“It did frighten me, to be honest” said Gale. “But Paul always told me, he said ‘Gale, she’s old enough now and she knows what she’s doing. If that’s what she wants to do, you’ve just got to let her do it’. And he was right. You should never come between your children and their dreams.”
While Elizabeth’s parents say they are slowly coming to terms with their daughter’s death, they are increasingly frustrated by the sanctuary’s lack of cooperation with the effort to recover her body. Despite multiple eyewitnesses to the attack, Cat Haven management continues to insist that the attack never happened, and that Elizabeth is “just sleeping.” In a statement released this morning, the sanctuary said that any claims of an attack were “preposterous” and that “Elizabeth is just finishing up her shift, and will be home soon.”
“There’s been a bit of a miscommunication with the sanctuary” said Paul Baker. “I think they’re embarrassed and don’t want to admit that their safety procedures weren’t adequate, but they shouldn’t feel guilty about it, and I think they’ll come around. Elizabeth knew the dangers. That’s why she did it.”