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Sarah McClay, UK Zookeeper, Dies After Tiger Attack At South Lakes Wild Animal Park

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LONDON -- A young zookeeper who was mauled by a Sumatran tiger at an animal park has died, British police said Saturday.

The woman, 24-year-old Sarah McClay, was in the big cat's enclosure at South Lakes Wild Animal Park in northwest England's Cumbria when she was injured Friday, police said in a statement.

The park's owner, David Gill, told BBC radio that McClay had worked at the park for several years and was "very proficient" in handling big cats, but that the park had strict safety protocols in place against entering the tiger's enclosure.

"For some unknown reason, an inexplicable reason, because there is no reason for why she did it, she opened the door and went into the tiger enclosure and straight into the tigers, and now we'll never know why," Gill said.

McClay was taken to a hospital by air ambulance, but died later from her injuries.

Cumbria police said Saturday they are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident. The tiger has been locked in its enclosure since the attack and there are no threats to the public, they said.

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