A female zookeeper killed by a tiger in a “freak accident” has been named as Rosa King.
The 33-year-old was killed after the tiger entered the enclosure she was in.
Those who knew Ms King have described her as a “lovely lady” who was “absolutely passionate” about the animals in her care.
Garry Chisholm, a wildlife photographer who met Ms King through visiting the Cambridgeshire attraction, told the Press Association: “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.
“She will be greatly missed, not just by me, but by everyone who came to know her.”
Police were called to the zoo at 11.15am on Monday to reports of a serious incident, and an air ambulance was at the scene 20 minutes later.
Visitors to the attraction were evacuated shortly afterwards.
On Facebook, Cambridgeshire Constabulary said that the incident is not believed to be suspicious – and stressed that the animal had not escaped from the enclosure at any point.
Jeff Knott, who witnessed the incident, said staff had been a “real credit” to the zoo during the evacuation.
He added: “Staff were very calm and professional. All visitors around us were leaving in a very calm manner – no running, shouting or anything similar.”
In a statement, Hamerton Zoo Park said public safety was never affected by the accident, adding: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleagues, friends and families at this dreadful time.”
The zoo is going to remain closed on Tuesday as investigations continue.
Four years ago, a keeper at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria died after being mauled by a Sumatran tiger.
The zoo was fined £255,000 at Preston Crown Court in June last year following the death of Sarah McClay, who was 24 years old.