A FEMALE zookeeper who was killed by a tiger in Cambridge, England in what zoo officials called a ‘freak accident’ has been identified.
Rosa King, 34, died on Monday at Hamerton Zoo after one of the zoo’s tigers reportedly entered an enclosure where Rosa was working and attacked her.
Devastated family and friends have paid tribute to Rosa, who was a carnivore keeper at the zoo.
Rosa’s mother said of her daughter, ‘She wouldn’t have done anything else, it’s what she has always done, it’s what she has always loved.’
Gary Chrisholm, a wildlife photographer who often visited the zoo, said that Rosa was an integral part of the park.
‘Rosa wasn’t just a keeper at Hamerton Zoo – she was Hamerton Zoo. Her passion for the animals in her care was exceptional though her favourites were undoubtedly the cheetahs, who she would refer to as her pride and joy,’ Chrisholm wrote on his Facebook. ‘I feel privileged to have known Rosa and been able to call her a friend.’
Emergency services were called to the park at around 11.15am on Monday following reports of a ‘serious incident’.
A Magpas air ambulance was on the scene 20 minutes later and visitors were evacuated from the attraction just before midday.
An East of England Ambulance Service paramedic crew and two rapid response vehicles also attended.
The zoo said it appeared to have been a ‘freak accident’, as it remained closed amid an investigation.
In a statement, the zoo said: ‘At no point during the incident did any animals escape their enclosures and at no point was public safety affected in any way.’
‘All our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleagues, friends and families at this dreadful time.’
Cambridgeshire Police said the tiger had not been killed and was unharmed.
The zoo opened in June 1990 and covers 25 acres.
It includes enclosures for Malaysian tigers, Bengal tigers, cheetahs, wolves, corsac foxes, kangaroos as well as a variety of birds, reptiles and domestic animals.
In October 2008, a cheetah who escaped from the park was found by a nine-year-old boy in the back garden of his family home.