Photo: David Villalobos Jumps into Tank at Bronx Zoo to be "One with the Tiger"
A man mauled by a tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo has been charged with trespassing after he told police he wanted to pet the 400-pound animal.
Friday afternoon, 25-year-old real estate agent David Villalobos jumped 16 feet down into the tiger tank, because he was seeking some kind of spiritual connection with the animal.
Despite reports that the incident was an attempt at suicide, police do not believe it was.
“His leap was definitely not a suicide attempt, but a desire to be one with the tiger,” NYPD spokesperson Paul Browne told the Associated Press Saturday.
After Villalobos jumped into the tank, the male Siberian tiger named Bashuta went after him and dragged him around by his foot. He remains in the hospital with bites and puncture wounds on his shoulders, arms, legs, and back. He also suffered a collapsed lung and a broken rib, ankle, pelvis, and shoulder.
He was rescued by zookeepers who instructed him to roll under an electrified fence to safety as they used a fire extinguisher to keep the tiger back.
A quick look at his Facebook profile and it is clear he has a love of animals, even a
This New Age animal lover has now been charged with misdemeanor trespassing.
Zoo officials maintain the tiger did nothing wrong and will not be euthanized, stating that if Bashuta had wanted to kill Villalobos, he easily could have.
In the end, Villalobos says he reached his goal and was able to pet the animal.