Tiger attacks keeper at Australian zoo

Australia Zoo has seven Sumatran and three Bengal tigers.
Australia Zoo has seven Sumatran and three Bengal tigers.PHOTO: TERRI IRWIN/TWITTER

SYDNEY (AFP) - A tiger attacked a keeper at a zoo in Australia on Thursday (Jan 21), leaving him with a "significant puncture wound" to the head at the popular tourist attraction, officials said.

The man in his 40s was treated by paramedics at the Sunshine Coast's Australia Zoo, founded by the family of late Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin, for wounds to his forehead and wrist and scratches to his body, a Queensland state ambulance spokesman said.

The head wound was "significant" but not life-threatening, the spokesman told AFP, adding that the man was taken to a nearby hospital in a stable condition.

Irwin's widow Terri tweeted that both the tiger and the keeper were OK.

"Hot day @AustraliaZoo. One of our tigers got hot & bothered and scratched a keeper. Keeper is ok, tiger is ok," she wrote on the social media website.

The mauling came more than two years after a Sumatran tiger attacked its handler at the zoo in Beerwah, some 80km north of the state's capital Brisbane, on Australia's east coast.

Australia Zoo has seven Sumatran and three Bengal tigers.

Television personality and conservationist Steve Irwin died in 2006 when a stingray barb punctured his chest while he was filming a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef in far north Queensland.