David Gill, the owner and founder of South Lakes Wild Animal Park, said Sarah McClay was "a very passionate girl, very enthusiastic" who was "extremely good at delivering conservation talks. A very valued part of our team."
She was "a very bubbly character, a very happy girl," he added.
Following Ms McClay's death the staff felt they wanted the park to carry on, Mr Gill said.
"There was a huge consensus of opinion that we should carry on. It's not the park's fault if you will. It's not going to do anybody any good if we closed."
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