Project Survival Cat Haven reopened on Sunday to remember a volunteer who was accidentally killed in a lion attack four days earlier.
A moment of silence was held for Dianna Hanson, a 24-year-old volunteer at Cat Haven that was killed when the gate to a feeding pen was left open.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims called it an accident. Officials originally thought the lion, named Cous Cous, pried open an unlatched gate.
Hanson was completing her usual routine of feeding and cleaning prior to the attack, Mims said to the public in opening remarks to the public during the ceremony.
During the reopening ceremony, a letter from Hanson's mother, Donna Anderson, was read by Cat Haven's board president Wendy Debbas.
"I am using this moment to reinforce the importance of the mission of Project Survival. I received daily pictures from Dianna during her time at cat haven and I have never seen her happier and the glow in her face was amazing," the letter read.
"Dianna and I were "me and mini me" same face, different color hair. We have shared the love of cats her entire life and I have the accumulation of stuffed felines domestic and wild to prove it. Her legacy will live on through the support of conservancies such as Project Survival's Cat Haven," the letter concluded.
Cat Haven officials said it was important that they return to normal operations, though they continue to mourn the loss of Hanson and Cous Cous.