Cambridgeshire

Rosa King tiger death: Keeper attacked 'leaving enclosure'

Rosa King pictured in 2016
Image caption Rosa King was killed after a tiger entered the enclosure she was in

A zookeeper was killed by a tiger as she appeared to be leaving its enclosure, an inquest heard.

Rosa King, 33, had been cleaning windows in the tiger enclosure at Hamerton Zoo Park in Cambridgeshire on 29 May, 2017, when she was attacked by a Malayan male called Cicip.

Miss King suffered "traumatic" injuries including a severed spinal cord.

The inquest was told zookeepers rushed to shut the enclosure's gates before the tiger could escape.

Frank York, a visitor to the zoo, was the first to see Miss King's body in the enclosure and raised the alarm.

Mr York also called out to other visitors warning them to stay away from the tunnel area.

In a statement read to the jury Ben McRobie, education officer at the zoo said he heard a keeper say "something like 'he's got her, she's dead'".

He added: "Someone said 'we need to get Cicip the tiger off Rosa'."

Keepers threw meat over the fence to distract the tiger and entice him back to a safe area, the inquest was told.

Image copyright Hamerton Zoo Park/Facebook
Image caption Rosa King looked after the carnivores at the zoo, where she had worked for 13 years

Head keeper Katherine Adams said Miss King was "very safety conscious" but the inquest heard she may have been tired after a busy weekend at work and caring for a serval kitten, including feeding at night.

Two gates used for keepers to access the enclosure, one wooden and one metal, were also found open immediately after the attack.

Ms Adams said the system for keeping keepers safe was "fool-proof" and that it "never entered our heads it would go wrong".

Since the attack the zoo has introduced a new system for tiger keepers that keeps them in contact with a colleague as they complete each task.

The inquest continues.

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