**WARNING: Graphic footage**
The animal handler was with the tiger inside a large metal cage used for training at the time of the attack.
The large cat "suddenly bit onto and suffocated him to death", an official with the Fuzhou City Government in East China's Fujian Province said.
The statement said Wu, who worked for Fuzhou Zoo, had raised the tiger since it was a cub, and that it had been domesticated through long-term interaction with humans.
The official described the animal as "usually quite docile".
AsiaWireTRAGIC: Shocking video shows the zookeeper on the ground following the attack
AsiaWireHISTORY: The zookeeper had raised the animal since it was a cub
Terrifying footage taken by watching tourists shows the cat standing over the lifeless trainer's body inside the cage, which was formerly used for circus performances.
In the clip, someone can be heard shouting: "Call the police!"
Another video, blurred by Chinese media, showed the tiger appearing to claw at the handler while other staff members try to drive it away using a stick.
“Call the police!”Horrified witness
They eventually got to the victim, but he was later declared dead by paramedics.
The zoo said the animal used to perform for visitors as part of an event outsourced to a circus from East Chinas Anhui Province.
The shows had already been stopped before the accident.
AsiaWireGRAPHIC: The tiger was filmed standing near the keeper following the attack
Wu isn’t the first zookeeper to be mauled to death by a tiger.
Last year, Rosa King was killed by a tiger at Hamerton Zoo in Cambridgeshire.
The 34-year old died after a tiger entered an enclosure she was in.