The female zookeeper killed by a tiger in an England zoo Monday has been identified as 33-year-old Rosa King.
The BBC reports that King’s friend Garry Chisholm described the victim as the “shining light” at Hamerton Zoo Park in Cambridgeshire, about 80 miles north of London, where the incident occurred.
“Rosa wasn’t just a keeper at Hamerton Zoo — she was Hamerton Zoo,” Chisholm told the BBC. “She was the absolute central point of it, the focal point of it. She was the shining light of it.”
“Her passion for the animals in her care was exceptional though her favorites were undoubtedly the cheetahs which she would refer to as her pride and joy,” Chisholm added.
Hamerton Park Zoo issued a statement shortly after King’s death, calling the attack a “freak accident” and extending sympathy to colleagues, friends and family members. The statement said no animals had escaped their enclosures, public safety was not affected, and a full investigation is underway.
Police said they were called to the zoo early Monday after a tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper, the Associated Press reports. A witness told BBC Radio that other zookeepers had attempted to lure the animal away from King with pieces of meat, but the tiger continued the attack “for 10 to 15 minutes.” King was killed on the scene as visitors were calmly escorted out of the park.
Authorities do not suspect foul play in King’s death. Little further information has been released about the tiger, but it is believed to be alive and well, according to the BBC.