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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3 People Caught With Tiger Pelt

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MYSORE: A six-month-old tiger cub has fallen prey to poachers, and is suspected to have been killed at BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, a tiger reserve in Chamarajnagar, bordering Tamil Nadu.

The poaching came to light following the arrest of three persons who were netted by a forest department vigilance squad posing as prospective buyers. They were arrested at Siddiahapura near Chamarajnagar and the tiger pelt and bones recovered from them. The officials are trying to locate where the cub was killed.

Sources told TOI that the cub may have been killed three days ago, given the freshness of the pelt. “How it died is yet to be ascertained as there are no bullet marks on the pelt. It could have been poisoned too,” the sources stated. The officials are sending the pelt and bones to the Bangalore-based National Centre for Biological Studies for further examination. The gender of the cub could not be ascertained from the pelt but said it could be a female.

The three arrested are Mahadev from Boodipadaga, Mahesh from Kullur and Narayan from Coimbatore, while two others escaped.

This is second case of poaching reported from tiger reserves in the Mysore-Kodagu-Chamarajnagar region. A tiger was killed in mid-February near Kushalnagar in the buffer zone of Nagarahole National Park, which came to light on April 7, after forest officials arrested one person at Naviluru in Periyapatna taluk in Mysore district. He later told police that they killed the tiger when they went hunting for deer and came across the big cat, and shot it.

This is story related to seizure of tiger pelt outside BR Hills tiger reserve in Chamarajnagar. This is second incident in recent times when the tiger pelt is seized in the area.

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Elite Commandos Save 3 Tiger Cubs From Smugglers

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An elite security force in Bangladesh saved the lives of three Bengal tiger cubs on Monday when they raided a house owned by smugglers. Tracking leads that came from a rumor, the team rescued the cubs before they could be sold.

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) commandos found the nearly two-month-old cubs playing inside an iron cage at the residence of a wildlife trader in the capital city of Dhaka. They arrested one person at the house.

RAB spokesperson Commander Mohammad Sohail said the house had a number of empty cages inside, indicating that it was used for animal trafficking. They found the residence after hunting down leads that stemmed from a rumor about three young cubs being taken from the forest. Officials with the Forest Department dismissed the story as false, but the RAB team decided to follow the trail which ultimately saved the lives of the cubs.

There are just 440 wild Bengal tigers living in Bangladesh and less than 2,500 worldwide, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

In 2010, the Bangladesh government passed strict laws to protect wildlife, including Bengal tigers, but poaching, capturing and trading still flourishes. Experts say poachers have become more sophisticated in their methods and serve as the biggest threat to the survival of the species.

The rescue was the first for tiger cubs in the capital city. The animals were sent to a private mini zoo in Hatirpul to help them gain weight. After being fed human milk, the cubs were suffering from diarrhea and weighed about half of what they should.

Zakirul Farid, veterinarian at the Dhaka Zoo, said the one male and two female cubs were malnourished and dehydrated.

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Link to petition on  Care2 network   Petition on

We have all fought long & hard for Tony the tiger, I’m so grateful to all those that have signed & noted the numerous post’s.  Many people think Tony has already been moved to a sanctuary…BUT HE IS STILL AT THE TRUCK STOP…If Michael Sandlin has his way, Tony will go to live at G.W.Exotics…thats worse than where he is now!! A proper sanctuary doesn’t breed tiger cubs for photo shoot’s to earn money…G.W.Exotics does exactly that!!

Clearly this facility does not comply with the following sanctuary criteria as defined by The Captive Wildlife Safety Act:
• Must be a non-profit entity that is tax exempt under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code
• Cannot engage in commercial trade in big cat species, including their offspring, parts, and products made from them
• Cannot breed big cats
• Cannot allow direct contact between big cats and the public at their facilities
• Must keep records of transactions involving covered cats
• Must allow the Service to inspect their facilities, records, and animals at reasonable hours


Ref: UAPPEAL & USZA –  sound very official acronyms don’t they… you will these on the G.W.Exotic website

UAPPEAL Is Just a Group of Exotic Animal Owners It is just an officious sounding name for a small group of exotic pet owners, lead by Joe Exotic Schreibvogel of G.W. Exotic Animal Park, who have made it their mission to block any law that would restrict the private ownership of dangerous wild animals.

USZA Isn’t a Real Accrediting Body It is just an officious sounding name for a small group of exotic pet owners, lead by Joe Exotic Schreibvogel of G.W. Exotic Animal Park, who have made it their mission to block any law that would restrict the private ownership of dangerous wild animals.


Ref: Please check out Joe Exotic below

Thank you

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