A senior tiger handler is in a serious but stable condition after being attacked by a tiger at a Queensland zoo.
The big cat became “overexcited” during a play session in a tiger show on Tuesday afternoon and bit its 30-year-old male trainer on the neck and shoulder.
Australia Zoo director Wes Mennon says a group of co-workers nearby saw the attack and helped drag the trainer away from the tiger.
“At the time of the incident, our emergency response team were on the scene immediately. They acted professionally and calmly. My hat goes off to them,” he said in a statement.
The Department of Community Safety says the man suffered two large puncture wounds and was flown to a Brisbane hospital in a serious but stable condition.
He was conscious and breathing when he was loaded into the helicopter.
Mr Mennon said the trainer had nine years experience with big cats and raised the tiger since it arrived at the zoo as a cub.
“Our priority is the wellbeing of the handler, who is a valued member of our Australia Zoo family,” he said.
“Our full support is with the handler and family.”
Mr Mennon said Australia Zoo was conducting a full investigation in conjunction with workplace health and safety authorities.