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Tiger mauls Australia Zoo handler at end of show

November 28, 2013 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A senior tiger handler at Australia Zoo in Queensland was reported yesterday to be in a serious but stable condition in Royal Brisbane Hospital after being attacked by a tiger at the zoo, which was made famous by Steve Irwin, the late “Crocodile Hunter”.

Was this the tiger? One relaxes with a visitor on the Zoo's website

Was this the tiger? One of the big cats relaxes with a visitor on the Zoo’s website

Brisbane’s Courier-Mail reported shocked witnesses describing how the tiger had grabbed experienced tiger handler Dave Styles and dragged him into the pool. Styles, who is said to have raised the tiger from a cub, was apparently wresting with the animal just after the daily show, as the BBC filmed, the paper reported.

Styles was not wearing his usual khaki uniform but was instead clad in a blue poncho-like top with bags over his hands. Speculation has arisen that the tiger may have mistaken him for one of the toys they are given to play with.

Styles was said by witnesses to have been bitten on the neck while in the water, as several other workers fought to rescue him.

Australia Zoo’s website says it keeps three Bengal tigers and eight Sumatran tigers. It would not identify which tiger was involved.

A 40-hectare zoo located on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast near Beerwah/Glass House Mountains, Australia Zoo was opened by Bob and Lyn Irwin in 1970 under the name Beerwah Reptile Park. Their son, the late Steve Irwin, made the zoo a popular tourist attraction through his wildlife documentary series The Crocodile Hunter. Terri Irwin, widow of Steve Irwin, now owns the zoo.

Australia Zoo’s website describes it as “a team of passionate conservationists working around-the-clock to deliver an animal experience like no other”.

Located at 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah, the zoo just a few days ago held Steve Irwin Day 2013, “celebrating Steve and our newly named tiger cubs”.

Written by : Peter Needham

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