|Samantha Kudeweh's Hamilton Zoo profile|
The female zookeeper mauled to death by a tiger at a New Zealand zoo was Samantha Lynda Kudeweh. Police named the 43-year-old woman - who had worked at the zoo as a curator for more than 20 years - as the victim on Sunday evening, Stuff.co.nz reported. A profile for the zookeeper on the Hamilton Zoo website features a photograph of her facing off with a tiger on the other side of a fence. The profile says Kudeweh worked at zoos in Auckland as well as at the Melbourne and Werribee Zoos in Australia before working at the Hamilton Zoo.
It goes on to describe her favourite part of the job - 'opportunities to interact with other species one to one'.
The downside was saying goodbye to animals, it said.
'That part never gets any easier.'
Although she was killed by a tiger, her profile said her favourite animal was the rhino - although she had a soft spot for 'whoever is behaving'. The woman was attacked by Oz, one of the male Sumatran tigers, while she was cleaning the enclosure at Hamilton Zoo, south of Auckland, on the country's North Island this morning. Emergency services rushed to the zoo at 11am, but paramedics said the woman died at the scene.
Visitors have described seeing a keeper inside the enclosure minutes before the attack and said the staff seemed 'panicky' when they ordered the evacuation of the zoo in Rotokauri. Oz, who is 11-years-old, was in an enclosure with one of the older females at the time of the attack, according to Hamilton City Council chief executive Richard Briggs. Mr Briggs said all zoo staff were 'devastated', but he refused to comment on whether the tiger would be put down. He said: 'Oz is safely contained in his enclosure. All other animals at the zoo are appropriately contained and at no time have any zoo animals not be been contained.'