Tiger which killed Hamerton Zoo keeper will not be put down

Rosa King.
Rosa King.

The owners of a zoo where a keeper was mauled to death will not put down the tiger which killed her.

Rosa King, 33, was fatally injured by the animal after it entered an enclosure she was in during a “freak accident” at Hamerton Park Zoo near Huntingdon.

Following her death on May 29, hundreds of people backed an online petition calling for the tiger’s life to be saved.

It’s not yet known which of the four tigers is responsible for Rosa’s death, but the park is home to four - white tigers Mohan and Shiva and Malayan tigers Cicip and Sahaja.

A statement posted on the park’s Facebook site said: “We have received a number of inquiries from members of the public asking about the tiger following last week’s incident.

“After extensive consultation with the staff at the zoo, we have decided not to put down the tiger.

“This decision has been fully supported by Rosa’s family.

“We are awaiting the findings of the investigation to fully understand what happened before we take further action on this matter.

“If we receive regulatory or professional guidance to the contrary, we will review our position.”

A post-mortem examination is understood to have been carried out on Rosa’s body but the results have not yet been released.

An inquest into the keeper’s death is due to open at Cambridgeshire Coroners’ Court tomorrow.

The incident came four years after inspectors had raised concerns over “ageing” fencing and safety barriers and “escape protocol” procedures in a 2013 report.

But a spokesman for Huntingdonshire District Council – responsible for licensing the zoo – confirmed “all of the conditions on that report were fully complied with”.

The zoo’s licence was renewed until 2019.

Police and the local authority are conducting a joint investigation into the circumstances of the keeper’s death.

The wildlife park opened in June 1990 and covers 25 acres.

It includes enclosures for Malaysian tigers, Bengal tigers, cheetahs, wolves, corsac foxes, kangaroos as well as a variety of birds, reptiles and domestic animals.

The zoo opened a new enclosure for its Malaysian tigers in July last year.

In October 2008 a cheetah which escaped from the park was found by a nine-year-old boy in the back garden of his family home.

Keeper Sarah McClay, 24, was killed by a tiger at Cumbria’s South Lakes Safari Zoo in May 2013.