Rosa King loved tigers and worked with them all the time at the Hamerton Zoo in England. But a freak accident cost King her life when a tiger mauled her to death.

Police were called to the zoo at 11:15 a.m. local tie on Monday with reports of a serious incident. 20 minutes later a Magpas air ambulance was on scene. Witnesses recall hearing screams as keepers tried to desperately distract the tigers with pieces of meat.

The zoo reported that no animals had escaped and the public was not in any danger.

One witness, Pete Davis, reported he saw a young female keeper run into the tiger enclosure in order to provide aid to a colleague who was shouting.

“There’s no doubting it was a girl’s scream and something terrible had happened. It sounds like a tiger turned on her,” said Davis.

He continued:

It was a case of total panic. There were keepers rushing about throwing about buckets of meat to try and get the tigers under control. They ushered us away to another building where they made us stay for around ten minutes but you could see the keepers with their heads in their hands. People were really scared, they asked us to leave straight after that and closed the park.

Another witness, Victoria Northover Holmes, relayed her story:

We didn’t know what was happening but they looked worried. I carried on walking down the hill towards the next enclosure when someone shouted run. A group of us ran into the keepers’ rooms for about 10 minutes until a keeper said we could leave. At this point we understood by the reactions of the staff that something was going on inside the enclosure. We could see staff members on the other side of the fence with pieces of meat trying to get whatever s attention . It was heart-breaking seeing them trying to help.


Working with wild animals is always a risk. They are not house pets. Still, it was tough on some people to know King was gone:

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, said “Rosa wasn’t just a keeper at Hamerton Zoo – she was Hamerton Zoo.

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

The Cambridge Constabulary reports the tiger involved in the attack “was believed to be fine.” In fact police have confirmed the tiger was not killed.

Share the story with others as a reminder of the risks people take just so we can look at wild animals in a zoo. No matter how “domesticated” they are, things like this are always a risk.

Source: The Telegraph

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