THE senior handler bitten on the neck and shoulder by one of Australia Zoo's tigers is now recovering following late night surgery.
Dave Styles was airlifted to the Royal Brisbane Hospital by the RACQ CareFlight Rescue Helicopter after being attacked at the Beerwah tourist attraction about 2.45pm on Tuesday.
The incident occurred in the middle of a show in front of a crowd of visitors.
It was said the tiger became over excited during a regular play session.
"Dave's in a stable condition and continues to improve," Australia Zoo curator Kelsey Engle said in a statement released online early this morning.
She also said that the tiger that bit Mr Styles would be cared for by the zoo.
Social media was last night rampant with fears that the tiger would be put down.
Mr Styles was a senior tiger handler and very experienced with big cats.
He's worked at the Zoo for nine years and has cared for the tiger that bit him since it was a cub.
Ms Engle said the zoo's focus was to provide support to Mr Styles and his family at this time.
Zoo director Wes Mannion yesterday praised the quick actions of staff who came to the rescue of Mr Styles.
One of our senior tiger handlers was bitten during a demo. He is stable and recovering in hospital. Our support is with him and his family.— Australia Zoo (@AustraliaZoo) November 26, 2013
"Our priority is the wellbeing of the handler, who is a valued member of our Australia Zoo family," Australia Zoo Director Wes Mannion said.
"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."
I saw the tiger Attack at australia Zoo today. Things went from playful to violent instantly. I hope that poor fella recovers quickly.— Dan (@dbass9) November 26, 2013
"Australia Zoo has rigorous safety procedures and is conducting a full investigation in conjunction with workplace health and safety authorities."
"Our full support is with the handler and family." Wes said.
The RACQ CareFlight Rescue team described the incident as a "mauling".
RACQ CareFlight Rescue crew is about to airlift a man with a tiger bite from Australia Zoo to the RBH - condition serious— CareFlight Group Qld (@CareFlightQLD) November 26, 2013
CareFlight's critical care doctor and flight paramedic treated the man on the scene.
"The man's breathing is controlled and he is conscious," a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services media spokeswoman originally said.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.