A female zookeeper who was killed by a tiger in England in what zoo officials called a “freak accident” has been identified.
Rosa King, 34, died Monday at Hamerton Zoo Park after one of the park’s tigers reportedly entered an enclosure where King was working and attacked her.
King's mother said of her daughter, "She wouldn't have done anything else, it's what she has always done, it's what she has always loved," according to BBC.
Gary Chrisholm, a wildlife photographer who often visited the zoo, said that King was an integral part of the park.
“Rosa wasn’t just a keeper at Hamerton Zoo — she was Hamerton Zoo. Her passion for the animals in her care was exceptional though her favorites were undoubtedly the cheetahs, which she would refer to as her pride and joy,” Chrisholm wrote on his Facebook. “I feel privileged to have known Rosa and been able to call her a friend.”
Police were called to the zoo at 11:15 a.m. Monday. Witnesses told The Telegraph that they heard screams and saw other keepers desperately trying to distract the tigers with meat.
Pete Davis, who had also been visiting the zoo at the time of the incident, told the paper it was clear something terrible had happened.
“There's no doubting it was a girl's scream. It sounds like a tiger turned on her,” Davis said.
A Magpas air ambulance arrived at the zoo 20 minutes after the attack and visitors were evacuated from the attraction.
The park also noted that no animals escaped their enclosures at any point during the incident.
The tiger that killed King has reportedly not been put down.
“All our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleagues, friends and families at this dreadful time,” Hamerton Zoo wrote on Facebook.
The wildlife park opened in June 1990 and covers 25 acres. It opened a new enclosure for Malayan tigers in July of last year.
The park was closed on Tuesday.