Mauled man wanted ‘to be one’ with Bronx Zoo tiger, faces arrest
Published Saturday, September 22, 2012 10:25AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 22, 2012 6:27PM EDT
A 25-year-old man who was mauled by a tiger after he jumped into the animal’s den at the Bronx Zoo is facing arrest on a trespassing charge, New York police said Saturday.
Onlookers were stunned Friday when David Villalobos leapt from an elevated train that travels along a portion of the zoo’s fence into the tiger enclosure. The 400-pound male Siberian tiger named Bashuta attacked the man and dragged him around before zoo officials jumped in to save him.
New York Police Department spokesperson Paul Browne told The Associated Press that Villalobos said “he wanted to be one with the tiger” and that he got his wish to pet the animal before he was rescued.
Police said Villalobos told them he willingly jumped into the tiger’s den and they plan to charge him with trespassing.
"His leap was definitely not a suicide attempt, but a desire to be one with the tiger," Browne said.
Villalobos is still in hospital with bites on his arms, legs, shoulders and back. He also broke an arm and a leg when he jumped off the monorail and cleared a 16-foot-high fence.
Villalobos was alone with Bashuta for about 10 minutes before rescuers chased the tiger away with a fire extinguisher. The zoo said the tiger will not be euthanized and will remain on display because he did nothing wrong.
With files from The Associated Press