Tributes paid to keeper killed in zoo tragedy

Tributes have been paid to a keeper killed in a 'freak accident' after a tiger entered the enclosure she was in at Hammerton Zoo near Peterborough.

Tuesday, 30th May 2017, 8:16 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:35 pm
Keeper Rosa King with the tigers at Hamerton Zoo Park, pictured by ther Peterborough Telegraph on World Tiger Day in 2013

Rosa King, who has been named in reports as the Hamerton Zoo Park keeper who died on Monday, was 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.

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“She was the absolute central point of it, the focal point of it. She was the shining light of it. It revolved around her.”

Police were called at 11.15am yesterday (Monday, May 30) to reports of a serious incident at the zoo.

A Magpas air ambulance was on the scene 20 minutes later and visitors were evacuated from the attraction.

An East of England Ambulance Service paramedic crew and two rapid response vehicles also attended.

Mr Chisholm said: “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.”

The zoo said it appeared to have been a “freak accident” and it would remain closed today (Tuesday,May 30) as an investigation continues.

In a statement released after the tragedy it 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.”