Tiger who attacked handler to stay at Australia Zoo

Nov 27, 2013
A tiger that attacked its handler at Australia Zoo, mauling him in front of a crowd of shocked spectators including schoolchildren, will remain at the popular tourist attraction, officials say

A tiger that attacked its handler at Australia Zoo, mauling him in front of a crowd of shocked spectators including schoolchildren, will remain at the popular tourist attraction, officials said Wednesday.

The Sumatran reared up and bit into the neck and shoulder of 30-year-old Dave Styles on Tuesday at the Sunshine Coast founded by the family of the late Steve Irwin, famous for his television show "Crocodile Hunter".

"It wasn't an act of aggression. It wasn't the tiger attacking someone, it's just a normal, daily part of the routine of the tigers and unfortunately we had a mishap," Australia Zoo director Wes Mannion told broadcaster ABC.

Styles, who had raised the animal since it was a pup, has had surgery and remains in hospital in a stable but improving condition.

"It's a 120 kilogram tiger, just pure muscle and (it's) hard to wrestle off that type of beast," English backpacker Dan Bass, who witnessed the attack, told reporters.

"Shock, absolute shock," he said, describing the scene as the tiger attacked. "Screaming, and there were school children there and the teachers did really well to move them away from the glass," he added.

Workplace health and safety officials are investigating the incident, but Zoo Association of Queensland's Al Mucci said it was unlikely to prompt major changes.

"When you're working with any large animals in a contact way, incidents do occur from time to time," he said.

"You are talking about animals that are about 150 to 200 kilos in weight versus a human who's about 80 to 100 kilos, so a bump or a scratch... you cop your bumps and your scrapes and this is the same."

Australia Zoo keeps three Bengal and eight Sumatran tigers, and allows visitors to have their photographs taken with the animals—a practice criticised by animal rights group PETA.

It said the injuries sustained by the trainer were entirely preventable, and called for protective barriers to be kept around dangerous animals at all times, effectively banning performances and interaction with humans.

"No amount of training or experience can stop a tiger from acting like the wild animal they are," it said in a statement.

"The best way to protect tigers is by working to preserve their habitat, not to confine them to pens that are nothing like their homes in the wild and forcing them to do tricks or pose for photos."

Explore further: Tiger cub born at London zoo drowns

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rare Sumatran tiger cubs born at US zoo

Aug 08, 2013

Two rare Sumatran tiger cubs were born this week at the National Zoo in the US capital, in what zookeepers described Thursday as a conservation victory for the critically endangered cats.

Tiger, two lions die from poison at Indonesian zoo

Aug 28, 2013

An investigation is under way after authorities determined that an endangered Sumatran tiger and two African lions found dead at an Indonesia zoo died from poison, officials said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Global wild tiger population to be counted by 2016

5 hours ago

Thirteen countries with wild tiger populations agreed Tuesday to take part in a global count to establish how many of the critically endangered animals are left and improve policies to protect them.

Scientists discover tropical tree microbiome in Panama

20 hours ago

Human skin and gut microbes influence processes from digestion to disease resistance. Despite the fact that tropical forests are the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems on the planet, more is known about ...

How are hybridized species affecting wildlife?

Sep 15, 2014

Researchers who transplanted combinations of wild, domesticated, and domesticated-wild hybridized populations of a fish species to new environments found that within 5 to 11 generations, selection could remove ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BSD
1 / 5 (3) Nov 27, 2013
The tiger didn't attack anyone, he got over exuberant whilst playing with his keeper. Unfortunately, he didn't know his own strength.