Keeper who died in incident with tiger at Hamerton Zoo is identified

PUBLISHED: 07:48 30 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:03 31 May 2017

Hamerton Zoo Park tigers with Rosa King,

Hamerton Zoo Park tigers with Rosa King,

Archant

A zoo keeper who died after a tiger entered an enclosure at Hamerton Zoo has been identified as Rosa King.

Keeper Rosa King, with foal Evie, Keeper Rosa King, with foal Evie,

The 34-year-old died at the zoo park on Monday, with visitors evacuated and emergency services remaining at the venue throughout the day while an investigation took place into the incident.

According to a statement released by management, the park will remain closed today (Tuesday).

A friend of Ms King, Garry Chisholm, told the BBC that she was the “focal point” and “shining light” of the wildlife park.

“Rosa wasn’t just a keeper at Hamerton Zoo - she was Hamerton Zoo,” he said.

Her mother Andrea King described her dedication to the job, saying: “She wouldn’t have done anything else, it’s what she has always done, it’s what she has always loved.”

Emergency services were called to the park, in Hamerton Road, shortly after 11am and visitors to the venue were swiftly evacuated.

Both the Magpas air ambulance and East of England Ambulance Service were called to attend the scene but, in a statement released by Cambridgeshire police, it was confirmed that a keeper had died.

A spokesman said: “A tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper. Sadly the female keeper died at the scene. At no time did the animal escape from the enclosure.”

The Magpas air ambulance arrives at the scene in Hamerton. Picture: Jessica Russell The Magpas air ambulance arrives at the scene in Hamerton. Picture: Jessica Russell

The spokesman added that the incident is not being treated as suspicious.

A spokesman for Magpas added: “At 11:34am today, the Magpas enhanced medical team were called to a very serious incident.

“An East of England Ambulance Service paramedic crew and two rapid response vehicles were also in attendance, alongside the police.”

A statement attributed to a zoo spokesman said: “This appears to have been a freak accident. A full investigation is currently under way and we hope that more details can be announced as soon as we are able.

“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 our sympathies are with our colleague’s friends and families at this dreadful time.”

Eyewitness Jeff Knott, from Cambridgeshire, said staff had been “a real credit” to the zoo during the evacuation.

The 32-year-old told the Press Association: “We had been in the zoo since about 10.30am and heard/seen nothing until asked to leave about 11.45am.

“Staff were very calm and professional. All visitors around us were leaving in a very calm manner – no running, shouting or anything similar.”

Antonia Brickell from Magpas air ambulance denied reports that visitors had been “running in terror”, adding: “The visitors were safely evacuated from the zoo.”

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