By Al Barbarino
Former BOND real estate agent David Villalobos was charged with misdemeanor trespassing on Saturday and remained in stable condition following his leap into the ‘The Wild Asia’ exhibit at the Bronx Zoo last Friday.
The 25-year-old from Mahopac, New York, jumped from the zoo’s monorail train, clearing a 16-foot perimeter fence and landing into an exhibit featuring Bashuta, a 400-pound, 11-year-old male Siberian tiger.
He suffered puncture wounds, a collapsed lung, and a broken right shoulder, right rib, right ankle and pelvis.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters that most of Villalobos’s injuries were the result of the fall, though the tiger mauled Villalobos before zoo employees rescued him using fire extinguishers to keep the animal away.
The former BOND real estate agent reportedly told police that he “wanted to be one with the tiger.”
Villalobos joined BOND in June 2011 and “became inactive” around mid-March of this year, a company spokesperson said.
“On behalf of BOND New York we would like to extend our sincerest well wishes to David for a speedy recovery. He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers,” Bruno Ricciotti, BOND New York’s founder, said in a statement.
Commissioner Kelly told a CNN affiliate that Villalobos was not drunk or insane (though some might disagree given the circumstances).
“I don’t think it was malicious,” Kelly said. “There was no indication he was drinking, but that he just … momentarily lost any semblance of common sense.”
In a move that “probably saved his life,” Villalobos heeded instructions from zoo staff, rolling under electrically charged cables to safety, Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny told reporters.
“The tiger did nothing wrong,” he said. “When someone is determined to do something harmful to themselves, it’s very hard to stop that.”
Bachuta the tiger made headlines two years ago after fathering triplets, and the first cubs born at the Bronx Zoo in more than a decade.
In 1985, zookeeper Robin Silverman, 24, was killed when she was attacked by two Siberian tigers at the Bronx Zoo while cleaning their cage.
“If the tiger really wanted to do harm to this individual he certainly would have had the time to do that,” said Breheny.