Trespass charge for tiger victim
Talk about adding insult to injury.
The police brought trespassing charges this weekend against a man who was mauled after purposefully leaping from the Bronx Zoo’s monorail over a 16-foot-high perimeter fence and into the tiger exhibit.
Zoo staff helped David Villalobos, 25, escape from the clutches of a 400-pound Siberian tiger Friday afternoon by keeping it at bay with a fire extinguisher.
But before Villalobos, a resident of Mahopac, N.Y., in Putnam County, could roll under an electrified wire to safety, he suffered a broken arm, a broken leg and puncture wounds to the back, according to the zoo and police.
“Because of the professionalism of our staff, we were able to prevent a bad situation from turning into a real tragedy,” Bronx Zoo director Jim Breheny said. “We did not have to use deadly force, but we were prepared to do so if necessary.”
He added that the “tiger did nothing wrong in this episode.”
Villalobos, who was transferred by ambulance to Jacobi Medical Center, reportedly told investigators he was not committing suicide, but that he wanted to be “one with the tiger.”
Police then charged him with criminal trespass and trespass and issued him a desk appearance ticket, which requires him to appear in court at a future date.
Wild tigers in trouble
Fewer than 3,200 tigers remain in the wild today, down from roughly 100,000 in 1920.
Conservationists say that poaching and habitat loss are among the biggest threats to the species’ future survival.