To be one with a tiger in a cage

NY Times yesterday:

The police said on Saturday that they issued a desk appearance ticket for criminal trespass to a man who leapt from a monorail into a tiger enclosure at the Bronx Zoo on Friday.

Paul J. Browne, the chief police spokesman, said in an e-mail that the man, David Villalobos of Mahopac, N.Y., appeared to have a “passion for cats.”

According to Mr. Browne, Mr. Villalobos told investigators that the leap into the enclosure was motivated by a desire to be “one with the tiger.”

On Friday afternoon, Mr. Villalobos, 25, got on the Wild Asia Monorail, which glides over about 40 acres of open space, then jumped as it passed the tiger habitat. He cleared a 16-foot fence and landed near a 400-pound Siberian tiger named Bachuta.

Bachuta attacked Mr. Villalobos, who suffered a broken pelvis, a broken right shoulder, a broken right rib, a collapsed lung and a broken right ankle, which was also mauled by the tiger.

Mr. Browne said that Mr. Villalobos told the police that the jump caused most of his injuries.

“When an N.Y.P.D. sergeant asked Villalobos yesterday why he had jumped into the tiger preserve, he replied that ‘everyone in life makes choices,’ ” Mr. Browne wrote, adding: “He recalled being dragged by the tiger by the foot, and afterwards being able to pet the tiger.”


From an earlier NYT report on the incident:

Mr. Villalobos’s Facebook page is filled with tributes to nature and images of tigers and other wild animals. One picture of wolves carries the caption: “Love the animals. God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Don’t trouble it, don’t harass them, don’t deprive them of their happiness.”Mr. Villalobos was in stable condition at Jacobi Medical Center on Saturday.