A tiger has attacked a keeper at a zoo in Australia founded by the family of wildlife enthusiast Steve Irwin.

The man, who is in his 40s, was left with a “significant puncture wound” to the head after the incident at the Sunshine Coast’s Australia Zoo.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said he was treated by paramedics for wounds to his forehead and wrist and scratches to his body.

The head wound was described by the spokesman as “significant” but not life-threatening, who added that the man was taken to a nearby hospital in a stable condition.

Australia Zoo said in a statement that the injuries were “minor” and were sustained when the keeper, who they did not name, was “scratched during a routine morning enrichment session.”

The statement added: “While walking through surrounding bushland at the zoo, Ranu – Australia Zoo’s 12-year-old male Sumatran tiger – became overly interested in his surroundings and when his handler approached him to change direction, he swatted his paw resulting in a scratch on his left wrist, bicep and right side of the forehead.”

The zoo, which has seven Sumatran and three Bengal tigers, said the handler would be released from hospital later on Thursday and would return to work “in the coming days”.

Handlers dealing with the 120kg (264.5ibs) Ranu, the tiger involved, “have to keep in mind that he is the boss and it is very important to be patient with him”, according to the zoo’s website.

Irwin’s widow Terri posted a video on Twitter of the keeper saying he was “all good”.

He added: “A bit of a hot day, Ranu was frustrated with the heat. He wanted to go one way, we wanted to go the other.

“He let off a bit of steam and I got a few claw marks. These things happen working with tigers.”

A Sumatran tiger mauled its handler at the zoo in Beerwah, some 80km (50 miles) north of the state capital Brisbane, in 2013.

The zoo was made famous by Irwin, who starred in the hugely successful wildlife documentary series The Crocodile Hunter, which became his nickname.

Irwin died in 2006 when a stingray barb punctured his chest while he was filming a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef.

The zoo is now run by his family, including Terri.

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