Cambridgeshire

Rosa King tiger death: Bloodstained paw print found where keeper died

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

A bloodstained paw print was found next to a zookeeper who was mauled to death by a tiger, 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.

She was described as a "very good keeper" by one of her colleagues, and was in good spirits before the attack.

The inquest was told that a visitor to the zoo found Miss King's body.

After he raised the alarm, keepers rushed to shut the enclosure's gates so the tiger could not escape into a public area of the zoo.

They also threw meat over the fence to distract the animal and entice him back to a safe area.

Scenes of crime officer Nathan Searle, who was involved in the early stages of the police investigation, told the inquest: "There was a large bloodstain on the ground, a set of keys and a blood-stained paw print."

He also noted there was a white cloth that was wet, and a squeegee and an upturned bucket near to the entrance of the enclosure.

Head keeper Katherine Adams previously told the inquest the zookeepers thought their safety system was "fool proof".

Assistant coroner for Cambridgeshire Nicholas Moss asked keeper Amy Beardmore if they ever considered "keeper error".

She replied: "You never think it will happen to you."

Ms Beardmore described Miss King as a "very good keeper" and said on the morning of the attack she had been "smiling and laughing".

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.

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

Miss King had been helping with night feeds to rear a serval kitten, a small African cat, in the weeks before the attack.

However Ms Beardmore said Miss King did not complain of being tired on the day she was killed.

The inquest continues.

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