Mauled Australia Zoo handler 'excited' tiger for show

AN Australia Zoo tiger handler had excited the enormous jungle cat on purpose before being mauled, according to a News Limited report.

The Australia Zoo handler David Styles was bitten on the shoulder and neck when the tiger dragged him into the pool during a show at the Beerwah animal park.

A Workplace Health and Safety investigation into the incident found the Bengal Tiger named Charlie was "over excited" during the show, and the attack "could have resulted in a fatality"

News Limited reports the details were contained in a Workplace Health and Safety report released under Right to Information laws.
 


The investigation found that Mr Styles had deliberately changed his outfit, by wearing blue in place of khaki and putting shoes over his hands to intrigue the big cat.

Investigators found, "handlers change their appearance to stimulate the tigers", according to the News Limited report.

"This stimulates the tiger to investigate and interact with a new 'entity' rather than their 'usual' handler."

At the time, Australia Zoo director Wes Mannion said the tiger had no interest in hurting the trainer.

"It's not the animal's fault, plain and simple," Mr Mannion said.

"It was just over-exhuberance on the animal's part."

"The key is limiting the risk and learning from anything that has set this off, and making sure it never, ever happens again."

Mr Styles had, at the time of the mauling, worked with tigers for about nine years.

Australia Zoo are not expected to face any further action as a result of the investigation.

 



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