Zookeeper killed by tiger is named as Rosa King, 33

'Shining light' carnivore keeper died when tiger got into wrong enclosure at Cambridgeshire zoo

Rosa King
Rosa King
(Image credit: Hamerton Zoo Park / Facebook)

The zookeeper who was killed by a tiger yesterday morning has been described as the "shining light" of Hamerton Zoo Park.

Rosa King, 33, died on Monday when a tiger entered the enclosure she was working in.

Colleagues tried to entice the animal away from King by throwing meat into the enclosure but witnesses said the attack continued for 10 or 15 minutes despite their efforts.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Zoo management said the animal did not escape at any stage and described it as a "freak accident".

The tiger is said to be unharmed and has not been killed.

A friend of King's, Garry Chisholm, told the BBC that King had been the "focal point" of the zoo.

He said: "Rosa wasn't just a keeper at Hamerton Zoo – she was Hamerton Zoo. She was the absolute central point of it, the focal point of it. She was the shining light of it.

"Her passion for the animals in her care was exceptional though her favourites were undoubtedly the cheetahs which she would refer to as her pride and joy.

"She will be greatly missed, not just by me, but by everyone who came to know her.

"The only consolation I can take from today's tragic events is that Rosa is now reunited with her beloved Ares the cheetah, and Blizzard and Ladybelle, her beloved tigers."

The park has launched an investigation into King's death and said in a statement: "This appears to have been a freak accident.

"At no point during the incident did any animals escape their enclosures and at no point was public safety affected in any way."

Officers investigating the death for Cambridgeshire Police said it was "not believed to be suspicious".

In 2008, a cheetah escaped from the park. It was found by a nine-year-old boy in the back garden of his family home, the BBC recalls.

Four years ago, a zookeeper was killed by a tiger at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.