Don’t put down killer big cat, say animal charities
CAMPAIGNERS have called for the tiger that killed Rosa King to be kept alive, arguing that the zookeeper would not have wanted it to be destroyed.
Cambridgeshire Police said the animal responsible for the attack was unharmed. And aerial photographs of the small zoo showed all four tigers alive in their enclosures yesterday.
Some critics said a zoo was no place for a wild animal, and argued the big cat should be euthanised after killing a human.
But Chris Draper, from the Born Free Foundation, said: ‘There should be no question of killing the tiger. However tragic this incident was, killing the tiger would change nothing.’
Hamerton Zoo visitor Russ Neve also said the tiger should be spared.
He said: ‘At the end of the day, it’s a wild animal and only acted as it would have done. Accidents can happen.
‘Plus I’m pretty sure Rosa wouldn’t even think of it. The tigers at Hamerton had been bred in captivity in Germany and brought over when they were young.’
Mr Neve described the staff at the zoo as ‘very helpful and professional’. He added: ‘This is why I’m so shocked by what has happened. It is a tragic accident.’
However, the zoo was criticised on its Facebook page. Trevor Buckle wrote: ‘Have said for years. Animals should not be caged, this is what happens!’
Thomas Faye added: ‘Close it down, animals should NOT be kept in zoos.’
One Twitter user said: ‘If it was a dog that killed that poor keeper it would have already been put down – sorry, the tiger should be also.’
The two Malayan tigers kept in the enclosure where Miss King died are very rare, with only a couple of hundred of the species thought to be left in the wild.
The pair arrived from a German zoo two years ago and were the first to be seen in the UK.
In 2013 keeper Sarah McClay died when she was mauled by a Sumatran tiger at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, in Daltonin-Furness, Cumbria.
The animal was not put down after her family said Miss McClay ‘would not have wanted it harmed’. It eventually died last year.