After surviving a tiger attack on November 27, 2013, at Australia Zoo, tiger trainer Dave Styles is finally awake and coherent.
Family member, Andes Styles posted updates to his Facebook page as of December 6th.
“Well after 10 days of heavy sedation, multiple scans and a few trips to the surgeon’s theatre Dave has finally woken with his cheeky grin still intact. He’s obviously still a little sore and it’ll be a few more days in ICU but he’ll be in touch ASAP,” said Andes.
Dave, 30, was attacked by a 6-year old tiger named Charlie, who he had raised since he was a cub. Dave who has been working as a tiger trainer since 2005 was stunned when the tiger attacked; puncturing two of his main blood vessels in his neck.
Dave’s family believes he will make a full recovery.
“He’s just finished a debrief of how intense a battle it’s been and other than a few scars and temporary paralysis to his vocal cords he’s pretty much all cleared for a full recovery… A lifetime of gratitude to all the staff at Brisbane Royal for their amazing work, to the Aus Zoo family for their continuous care and support, and a special thank you to the crew whose actions in those first few moments saved as all from the unimaginable,” Andes said.
The Australian Zoo is under stern scrutiny as it’s been claimed they purposefully provoked the tiger to get him amped up while a BBC documentary was being filmed.
Wes Mannion, the zoo’s director said it was nothing more than mistaken identity as the trainer, who was not dressed in his normal khaki, was clothed in blue, the same color as the tiger’s beloved chewing and biting toy.
Carly Fritsch, a visitor and observer of the attack said the trainer had been wrestling with the tiger when all of a sudden the tiger attacked, grabbing, swiping and charging at the trainer’s neck while trying to force him into the pool. Ms. Fritsch says zoo staff quickly jumped in to restrain the Bengal tiger.
Dave’s sister, Mel Santo is so thankful for Australia Zoo’s staff, who took swift measures in saving her brother.
“My beautiful little brother, I can breathe a bit better knowing that you are doing better. Even though I’m thousands of k’s away from you right now, we will be back very soon. Can’t wait to see your beautiful face and your gorgeous smile,” Ms. Santo wrote on Dave’s Facebook page.
“I’m grateful for your strength and your fight as I’m sure it’s those two things that have had a lot to do with how you’re progressing. Stay strong sweetheart, I love you very much… A very special ‘thank you’ to the guys at the zoo for your prompt response. Can’t tell you how grateful I am for what you did on that dreadful day,” Ms. Santo continued.
Dave is currently resting at Royal Brisbane Hospital where he has undergone soft-tissue surgery and, will continue his recovery.
Messages sent to Australia Zoo have gone unanswered. Meanwhile, all official entities who are investigating the attack such as: the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Workplace Health and Safety are refusing to comment until the investigation is complete.