The British zookeeper who was mauled to death by a tiger was hailed by colleagues as the zoo’s “shining light,” as police confirmed Tuesday that the killer cat has not been put down.
Rosa King was killed Monday at Hamerton Zoo in England in what zoo officials described as a “freak accident,” when a tiger entered an enclosure where she was working, according to the Mirror.
Witnesses recalled hearing a woman’s screams as visitors were evacuated from the zoo around 11:15 a.m.
Employees at the Cambridgeshire zoo threw meat into the cage to try to distract the big cat — to no avail.
“The zookeepers had their heads in their hands and didn’t know what to do, throwing meat over the enclosure to entice the tiger away,” witness Pete Davies told The Mirror. “The zoo keepers had their heads in their hands and didn’t know what to do, throwing meat over the enclosure to entice the tiger away. They shouted stuff. It went on for too long.” They shouted stuff. It went on for too long.”
The zoo was closed Tuesday pending a probe.
“A full investigation is currently under way and we hope that more details can be announced as soon as possible,” the zoo said in a statement. “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.”
Police confirmed Tuesday that the tiger was not euthanized as a result of the accident, the site reported.
King, 34, worked at the zoo for 14 years, and was remembered by wildlife photographer Garry Chisholm as having a passion for animals.
“Rosa wasn’t just a keeper at Hamerton Zoo – she WAS Hamerton Zoo,” Chisholm wrote in a Facebook post. “She was the absolute central point of it, the focal point of it. She was the shining light of it. It revolved around her.”
King’s mother, Andrea, said she worked at Hamerton for 14 years.
“She wouldn’t have done anything else; it’s what she has always done,” Andrea told the Guardian. “It’s what she has always loved.”
With Post Wires