Man Who Jumped Into Bronx Zoo Tiger Den Just Really Likes Tigers

The Atlantic
Man Who Jumped Into Bronx Zoo Tiger Den Just Really Likes Tigers
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Man Who Jumped Into Bronx Zoo Tiger Den Just Really Likes Tigers

We can not get enough of David Villalobos, 25, the man who yesterday made a leap of faith off a monorail into the tiger den at the Bronx Zoo. He wasn't suicidal. He just really likes tigers.

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Here's what happened: Villalobos jumped off the Zoo's monorail mid-ride, over a 16-foot perimeter fence and into the tiger den. He spent ten minutes alone with Bashuta, an 11-year-old tiger who's been with the zoo for three years. In that time, Villalobos suffered injuries to his arms, legs, shoulders and back, as well as a broken arm and a broken leg. But! He says he got to pet the tiger after it was done mauling him. Bronx Zoo staff were able to scare off Bashuta with a fire extinguisher and rescue Villalobos before anymore serious harm could be done. 

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There were rumors the tiger ate his foot, or even his whole leg. Or that the tiger injured him so badly doctors were going to be forced to amputate something, but that's not the case. There were also rumors he was suicidal, but that's not true either. Why, then, did he do it? 

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From the AP:

That changed when, during an interview Saturday at the hospital, Villalobos told detectives that "his leap was definitely not a suicide attempt, but a desire to be one with the tiger," Browne said.

From NBC News: 

Based on Villalobos' statements to investigators and what they've seen on his Facebook page it appears he was obsessed with the tigers and just wanted to be with them, police said.

A former classmate told ABC News his recent Facebook activity, "seemed a little strange." "When an NYPD sergeant asked Villalobos yesterday why had jumped into the tiger preserve, he replied that 'everyone has a reason for what they do in life,'" said police spokesman Paul Browne. Along with his injuries, the not-suicidal but very zen Villalobos is going to be slapped with a trespassing charge from the Bronx Zoo.

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This is, as far as we know, the first time someone has broken into the Bronx Zoo recently. We're used to daring escapes from the Bronx Zoo. First it was the cobra, then it was the peacock. 

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