Parents pay tribute to 'beloved daughter' killed in Hamerton Zoo tiger enclosure

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The parents of a zookeeper who was killed after a tiger entered the enclosure she was in have paid tribute to their "beloved daughter".

Police and the council are still investigating the death of Rosa King, 34, in an incident at Hamerton Zoo Park in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire on Monday.

Her proud parents, Peter and Andrea, thanked well-wishers who have shown an "abundance of love and sympathy".

"Rosa was a dedicated professional when it came to her work," they said in a statement.

"She lived and breathed a vocation that meant the world to her, living her dream.

"She had a care and understanding of her animals that was a joy and privilege to behold."

Ms King's parents said she also leaves a younger brother, Mark, who, "like his parents, had nothing but love and admiration for her".

They told how she was passionate about animals since she first sat on a horse at the age of two.

"After that, her life was always going to be about animals," their statement continued.

"She lived her life to the full and was a very caring, generous person.

"She would stand up for those who couldn't stand up for themselves including the animals and campaigned and raised money for animal charities."

Ms King did a skydive in 2014 to raise money for charity Animal Asia before travelling to China to visit their sanctuary for Asian Black bears, known as moon bears, her parents said.

She had also recently returned from a trip to visit a rehabilitation centre for sun bears in Borneo.

Her family said her whole attitude to the animal kingdom could be summed up in the statement: "When I look into the eyes of an animal I do not see an animal.

"I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul."

The family have now asked for privacy.

Distressed staff are said to have thrown meat into the enclosure in a desperate attempt to help Ms King during the incident on the morning of Bank Holiday Monday.

Cambridgeshire police said the tiger was not harmed and a joint investigation with Huntingdonshire District Council is ongoing.

A Hamerton zoo spokesman said: "Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Rosa's family and friends, many of whom worked alongside her at the zoo.

"We are cooperating fully with the investigation that is currently being conducted by Huntingdonshire District Council Environmental Health Department.

"The zoo will remain closed for the time being. We are not able to comment further at this time."

The zoo was told to improve its emergency systems following an inspection in 2013.

But the council refused to confirm whether it was the latest inspection or if the findings were complied with.