A man jumped into a tiger den at the Bronx Zoo and then was mauled by a 400-pound tiger, yesterday afternoon in an apparent suicide attempt according to officials, the DNAinfo reports.
Twenty-five year old David Villalobos was riding the zoo’s monorail, and as it passed over the tiger den – he jumped 17 feet and landed on the ground where a 400-pound Siberian tiger mauled him.
Villalobos, who officials said visited the zoo alone, told those who rescued him that he jumped in a suicide attempt.
Villalobos’ right foot and left leg were clawed, and he was bitten on the back, where a fang punctured his lung, sources said. Zoo officials said he also suffered bites on his arms and shoulder. He was taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where he was in critical but stable condition Friday evening, police said.
Bronx Zoo personnel rescued Villalobos by using a fire extinguisher, zoo personnel said in a statement.
The tiger who attacked Villalobos was 11-year-old Bachuta, a 400-pound male Siberian tiger according to Jim Breheny, the zoo’s director.
In a press conference at the zoo Friday evening, Breheny said the zoo had been prepared to use deadly force to restrain the tiger but did not blame the tiger for his reaction.