Man who leapt into tiger enclosure and was brutally mauled ‘wanted to be at one with the animal’ and was NOT attempting suicide

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“Sorry but I have to get this off my chest, this silly man Villalobos not only put his own life at risk (which he may not care about) but those who had to rescue him; could have been mauled or fatally injured too! I am so pleased to hear that are going to charge him.  Anybody that puts their own life at risk should do so on their own accord; like climbers, skiers, pot hole divers etc. these are extreme sports…if it goes tits up for them…tough…they wanted to do it!! These rescue workers risk their lives day after day, saving numb nuts… who are 1 can short of a 6 pack…I just think it’s selfish to expect help when you yourself have gone into harms way! Those who are rescued should have to pay for the services their rescuers have had to use…but how do you put a price on  a persons life??”

A man was viciously mauled by a 400-pound tiger after leaping into the animal’s den says he wanted to be ‘at one’ with the animal and was not attempting suicide. 

Victim: David Villalobos, 25, pictured, jumped from the popular Wild Asia Monorail about 3pm

David Villalobos, 25, of Mahopac, New York, is now stable condition after being attacked by Bachuta, an 11-year-old male Amur tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo.

Villalobos also had his back bitten, where a fang punctured his lung, and his body clawed, after throwing himself from a moving monorail over a protective fence into the tiger’s enclosure.

The tresspasser also claimed that despite his serious injuries, he was able to pet the tiger before zookeepers came to his rescue, said New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne.

Browne said that based on a complaint from the zoo and his own admissions, the hospitalized Villalobos would be arrested and charged with trespassing.

Police had said earlier that 25-year-old Villalobos admitted to a police officer making a conscious decision to jump from an elevated train into the animal’s den, but that his motives were unclear and an arrest uncertain.

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.

Tiger enclosure: Katharina, an Amur tiger pictured with her cubs, is one of 10 tigers at the Bronx zoo

The mauling happened Friday afternoon in the Wild Asia exhibit featuring a train with open sides that takes visitors over the Bronx River and through a forest, where they glide along the top edge of a fence past elephants, deer and a tiger enclosure.

Passengers aren’t strapped in on the ride, and Villalobos apparently jumped out of his train car with a leap powerful enough to clear the 16-foot-high perimeter fence.

Vicious attack: Rescuers scared the tiger off using fire extinguishers then instructed the injured man to roll under a hot wire to safety

Villalobos was alone with a male Siberian tiger named Bashuta for about 10 minutes before he was rescued by zoo officials, who used a fire extinguisher to chase the animal away, said zoo director Jim Breheny.

“When someone is determined to do something harmful to themselves,” Breheny said, “it’s very hard to stop that.”

Bashuta was returned to a holding area where it usually sleeps at night and will not be euthanized, zoo officials said. “The tiger did nothing wrong,” Breheny said.

Earlier, police said the man had to have a foot amputated after the savage attack, but officials later said that was not the case.

Tiger’s den: The 25-year-old was allegedly riding the zoo’s monorail when he jumped out of his seat as the train passed over the tiger’s den

The keepers then called the tiger into its exhibit holding area and secured him there. Bachuta will be back on exhibit this weekend and will not be euthanized, officials said.

He was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center in critical condition. He was, however, conscious and talking after the mauling.

A witness tweeted, ‘Someone jumped the gate at the bronx zoo n got mauled by a tiger now in jacobi ER.#lmfao.’ [sic]

‘The tiger was minding his own business,’ New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told ABC News, ‘up until the man cleared two sets of fences to get into the enclosure.

Extraordinary occurrence: Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny, pictured, said the tiger was not at fault

But his family, who had no idea he had gone to the zoo yesterday, were perplexed as to what went wrong.

‘He’s amazing and he loves everybody,‘ the victim’s sister told The New York Daily News. ‘I really don’t know what happened.’

Officials believe Villalobos was visiting the zoo by himself. He had recently posted photos of tigers on his Facebook page, including one on Thursday of a mother licking her cub.

The Bronx Zoo, one of the nation’s largest zoos, sprawls over 265 acres and contains hundreds of animals, many in habitats meant to resemble natural settings.

Its exhibits include Tiger Mountain, Congo Gorilla Forest and World of Reptiles.

There are 10 tigers at the Wild Asia exhibit, but Bashuta was the only one on display at the time of the attack. Bashuta has been at the zoo for three years.

There are no surveillance cameras in that area of the exhibit.

Zoo officials said they would review safety procedures but believe this was a highly unusual occurrence.

‘We review everything, but we honestly think we provide a safe experience,’ Breheny said.

‘And this is just an extraordinary occurrence… somebody was deliberately trying to endanger themselves.’

He added: ‘I think it’s safe to say that if the tiger really wanted to do harm to this individual, he certainly would have had the time to do that.

Breheny applauded his staff for acting quickly in the extraordinary situation, adding that the man was lucky to escape Bashuta with his life.

‘We were able to prevent a bad situation from turning into a real tragedy,’ Breheny said.

‘We did not have to use deadly force but we were prepared to do so. We’ve never had a single incident like this. You have to be determined to jump out,’ he added.

Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, are the largest of the big cats and can weigh up to 674 pounds. 

Although rare, deadly animal attacks in zoos across the country have happened before. On Christmas Day 2007, a man was killed at the San Francisco Zoo, when a 300-pound tiger named Tatiana escaped her cage and savaged him.


  • In 1985, Robin Silverman, a 24-year-old zookeeper, was killed when she was attacked by two Siberian tigers at the Bronx Zoo while trying to clean their cage.
  • In 1987, an 11-year-old boy was killed by a polar bear at the Prospect Park Zoo after climbing into its enclosure when the zoo was closed.
  • In July 1994, a 29-year-old Australian tourist named Kathryn Warburton suffered a broken leg and bite wounds when she climbed a fence and railing at the Anchorage Zoo, Alaska, to get close-up pictures of a polar bear named Binky.
  • In 2005, a male gorilla attacked and bit a 32-year-old female intern keeper at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo after she was mistakenly sent into an outdoor gorilla exhibit while the animals were present.
  • On Christmas Day 2007, a man was killed at the San Francisco Zoo, when a 300-pound tiger named Tatiana escaped her cage.
  • In March 2010, a woman’s thumb and forefinger were bitten off and her middle and ring fingers partially munched when she was attacked by two bears at the zoo in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, after ignoring barriers and warning signs.

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Horror as hiker killed by grizzly bear after taking photos of animal for eight minutes in Alaska’s Denali National Park

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  • It is the first bear mauling fatality at Alaska’s Denali National Park
  • Officials yet to release identity of lone hiker, whose backpack was discovered by a trio of fellow hikers on Friday
  • Rangers spot lone bear scurrying away during search

A hiker in Alaska’s Denali National Park photographed a grizzly bear for at least eight minutes before the bear mauled and killed him in the first fatal attack in the park’s history, officials said Saturday.

Grim Discovery: Evidence of the attack was found Friday afternoon by a trio of hikers, who came upon a lone backpack lying near a park river

Investigators have recovered the camera and looked at the photographs, which show the bear grazing and not acting aggressively before the attack, Denali Park Superintendent Paul Anderson said.

A state trooper shot and killed the bear on Saturday, and investigators will examine its stomach contents and use other tests to confirm it’s the animal that killed the hiker. 

The hiker was backpacking alone along the Toklat River on Friday afternoon when he came within 50 yards of the bear, far closer than the quarter-mile of separation required by park rules, officials said.

‘They show the bear grazing in the willows, not acting aggressive in any form or manner during that period of time,’ Anderson said.

Investigators have identified the man but won’t release his name until they’ve notified his family. They said he’s a U.S. citizen but declined to release any other information about him.

Rangers were hoping to recover his remains later Saturday after ensuring the scene was safe. Several other bears have been seen in the area.

Officials learned of the attack after hikers stumbled upon an abandoned backpack along the river about three miles from a rest area on Friday afternoon. The hikers also spotted torn clothing and blood. They immediately hiked back and alerted staff park.

A Fateful Search: Park officials launched a rescue helicopter around 8 p.m. Friday, or about two-and-one-half hours after the hikers came upon the lone backpack

Rangers in a helicopter spotted a large male grizzly bear sitting on the hiker’s remains, which they called a “food cache” in the underbrush about 100 to 150 yards from the site of the attack on Friday.

There’s no indication that the man’s death was the result of anything other than a bear attack, investigators said, adding that it’s the first known fatal mauling in the park’s nearly century-long history.

‘ ‘Over the years, and especially since the 1970s, the park has worked very diligently to minimize the conflict between humans and wildlife in the park.’

A wallet was later found near the site of the attack with probable identification. However, officials are yet to name the unfortunate hiker, as they work to identify the next of kin

‘We have some of the most stringent human-wildlife conflict regulations in the National Park system, and I think those are largely responsible for the fact that there hasn’t been a fatal attack.’

Park officials said they don’t believe other registered backpackers are in the immediate area. That portion of the park is closed but other wilderness areas remain open, officials said.

Prior to receiving a permit to hike in the area, all backpackers in the park receive mandatory bear awareness training that teaches them to stay at least a quarter-mile away from bears, and to slowly back away if they find themselves any closer. Investigators confirmed that the hiker had received that training.

Denali is located 240 miles north of Anchorage, and is famously home to Mt. McKinley. It spans more than 6 million acres and is home to numerous wild animals, including bears, wolves, caribou and moose.

Too-Close-For-Comfort: It was later discovered that the hiker had violated the quarter-mile berth that hikers are mandated to give bears roaming the wilderness

 ‘(The photos) show the bear grazing in the willows, not acting aggressive in any form or manner during that period of time.’

The attack was discovered Friday around 5:30 p.m., when a trio of other hikers came upon a lone backpack lying along the Tolkat River about three miles from a rest area.

‘Upon further investigation, they saw evidence of a violent struggle, including torn clothing and blood,’ a Park Service spokesman told The Anchorage Daily News.

The backpackers alerted park officials, who launched a helicopter around 8 p.m., the Alaskan paper reported.

The helicopter-borne rangers discovered the backpack about 30 minutes later, but were forced to return empty-handed because of the coming nightfall.

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Man in hospital – mauled after entering tiger enclosure in Jamshedpur

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Jamshedpur (Jharkhand): A man was mauled and seriously injured by a tiger after he sneaked into the animal’s enclosure at the Tata Steel Zoological Society, police said on Saturday.

The man, whose identity is yet to be established, had entered the enclosure of Raghav, the full grown tiger, on Saturday night and was found unconscious inside the cage by zoo staff on Sunday morning. “It’s a wonder there was anything left of the man, they must be well fed tiger!”

Jamshedpur: Man mauled in tiger pasture

The victim was removed from the cage by the zoo staff and admitted to the government-run MGM Hospital here after administering first-aid, sources in the zoo said.

They suspected that the man entered the tiger enclosure with the intention of poisoning the striped cat to get its skin, or steal cubs from adjoining enclosures.

The matter would be probed in detail, the sources said. Police said they were investigating how the man managed to evade security and entered the enclosure.

It also needs to be ascertained whether the man is in a mentally sound state, police said.


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