Mum's emotional tribute to daughter mauled to death by tiger at zoo

The mother of a zookeeper who was mauled to death by a tiger at a UK zoo has paid tribute to her daughter, saying she “followed her dreams”.

Rosa King, 33, died at Hamerton Zoo in Cambridgeshire, in May, 2017, in what management described as a “freak accident”.

Jurors at an inquest into her death, which began on Monday, were warned the hearing will include “distressing” evidence.

Her mother, Andrea King, who attended the hearing with Rosa’s father Peter, burst into tears when talking about her daughter at the inquest.

Rosa King holding a tiger cub at the zoo. Source: AAP

“She couldn’t have been a better daughter and the family are very proud of all her achievements,” said Mrs King.

She described Rosa as a “generous, kind, caring compassionate person” who “lived life to the full and followed her dreams”.

Mrs King said it was clear from the age of two that Rosa would end up working with animals.

“Family days out were often spent visiting zoos and animal parks,” she said.

“It wasn't very often you wouldn't see her with a smile on her face."

Hamerton Zoo Park. Source: Google Maps

Zookeeper dragged across paddock by tiger

Ms King, who worked at the zoo for 13 years, did not express concerns about working conditions, her mother said.

"She thought two people working together wasn't as safe as it would be easier to become complacent," she said.

Jurors heard how Ms King was dragged across a paddock by a rare Malayan tiger called Cicip.

“As you can imagine, some of the evidence in this case may be distressing,” Cambridgeshire’s assistant coroner Nicholas Moss told the inquest jury in Huntingdon.

Ms King was discovered by a visitor in the public viewing area who raised the alarm, the inquest heard.

She was cleaning the windows of the tiger enclosure when she was attacked by Cicip. She died at the scene.

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