A keeper killed by a tiger at a zoo in Cambridgeshire has been named in reports and described as the “shining light” of her workplace.
Rosa King, who has been named in reports as the Hamerton Zoo Park keeper who died on Monday in a “freak accident”, was a “lovely lady” who was “absolutely passionate” about the animals in her care, a friend said.
Garry Chisholm, 59, a wildlife photographer in his spare time who knew Ms King through visiting the attraction in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, said the zoo revolved around the keeper.
Mr Chisholm, from Irchester, Northamptonshire, told the Press Association: “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.
“It revolved around her.
“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.
“I feel privileged to have known Rosa and been able to call her a friend.
“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.”
Police were called to the zoo at 11.15am on Monday morning to reports of a serious incident.
They said the tragedy happened when the tiger entered the enclosure with Ms King, adding the animal had not escaped, contrary to earlier reports.
Hamerton zoo said a “freak accident” was to blame for the incident adding “our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleagues, friends and families at this dreadful time”.
Hamerton Zoo Park remained closed on Tuesday while the investigation continued.