Cat Haven, California Sanctuary Where Lion Attacked, to Reopen Sunday


Hanson's grief-stricken father is now left with the question of why his daughter was in the enclosure with the lion.

"How she ever got inside the cage and why she would be inside the cage [is unclear], because I thought she made it real clear that they don't let anybody in the cage except the owner," Paul Hanson said.

Cat Haven was founded in 1993 and is run by Project Survival, a privately funded education and conservation organization.

The 100-acre facility is home to a variety of wild cats -- including tigers, leopards and other threatened and endangered species that are kept for limited breeding and use in educational programs, according to Cat Haven's website.

Officials said the park has had a good history, and had an active permit to operate.

Cat Haven also runs an outreach program, and its "cat ambassadors" may sometimes be taken off-site to make appearances as part of that program, according to the website.

The preserve is run by a core staff supported by volunteers.

In the news release Friday announcing the facility's reopening, park officials said Hanson's family was creating a memorial fund in honor of her to benefit charities she loved -- Project Survival's Cat Haven, Soysambu Conservancy, AKRE Tiger Sanctuary, Snow Leopard Trust, Tembo Trading Company and Seattle PAWS Animal Shelter.

Hanson's mother, Donna Anderson, noted that she adopted a Siberian tiger in her daughter's name for her seventh birthday, helping to fund the research of tigers and maintenance of their natural habitat.

"Because of the stories that came through with that adoption process, she grew to understand that these beautiful cats in the wild are decreasing in numbers, and she wanted to do something to help that not happen," Anderson said.

Cat Haven noted in its announcement, "The family has asked that all donations be made to the charity of the donor's choosing. Donations can be made directly on the non-profit organizations' respective websites."

ABC News' Russell Goldman, Larry Dechant and Suzan Clarke contributed to this report.

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