Cambridgeshire

Rosa King tiger death: Zoo had 'lax attitude to safety'

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

A zoo where a keeper was mauled to death by a tiger displayed a "lax attitude to safety," an inquest heard.

Rosa King, 33, was attacked by a Malayan male called Cicip while cleaning windows in the enclosure at Hamerton Zoo Park in May 2017.

She suffered "traumatic" injuries, including a severed spinal cord.

Zoological consultant Douglas Richardson told the jury he was "amazed" by her long working hours and criticised the enclosure's design.

He told the inquest staff at the zoo in Cambridgeshire would work six days a week and zookeeping was a "very physical job", meaning tiredness could have been a factor in the death.

Mr Richardson said he was concerned about an enclosure door that opened vertically, which a strong tiger could "throw up with a paw".

He also criticised the zoo's tiger protocol - which is meant to act as a guide to managing the animals - but was "not particularly thorough" and pre-dated the arrival of the Malayan tigers.

In summary he said the zoo had a "lax attitude to safety".

Image caption Flowers were left at the zoo following Rosa King's death

Last week, the jury at the Huntingdon inquest into her death was told there were no mechanical faults with the steel slides designed to keep humans and tigers apart.

The jury also heard from Elizabeth Yeomans, a Health and Safety Executive senior ergonomist, who described Ms King, whose family home is in Chippenham, Wiltshire, as a "very responsible and meticulous" keeper.

She said the victim was unlikely to skip a procedure, but human error can occur because "you're rushing, you're tired".

The inquest continues.

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