A tiger has bitten a handler at a Queensland zoo for the second time in eight months, with the latest puncture incident occurring on International Tiger Day.
Juma, the biggest tiger at Australia Zoo, bit Mark Turner, 42, on his left leg as the animal was being moved to a new area.
The 10-year-old, 130kg male Sumatran tiger, named after the Indonesian word for mountain summit, is described on the Sunshine Coast enclosure’s website as “a fitting name for an animal equally as powerful and stunning”.
However, the tiger born in captivity in NSW is also described as having a “very laid-back personality”, making him ideal for filming.
Mr Turner is in a stable condition but is reportedly undergoing surgery following the incident shortly before noon on Tuesday.
It is the second biting incident involving a tiger and a handler at Australia Zoo since November last year.
That’s when a 114kg Bengal tiger, Charlie, became “over-excited” and bit his handler Dave Styles on the neck and shoulder during a tiger show, keeping him away from work for several months.
Australia Zoo, owned by the family of the late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, announced the incident on Twitter.
“Keeper has tooth puncture wound but is fine,” it said.
“First-aid protocol was followed, the same as Australia Zoo renders all staff, and the keeper is going to be fine.
“Juma the tiger is fine as well.”
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said the tiger handler was taken to Nambour Hospital, on the Sunshine Coast, in a stable condition.
Nine News reported that he was undergoing emergency surgery.