THE BRONX - Police say the man who intentionally jumped off the Bronx Zoo monorail and into the tigers den has been officially charged with trespassing.
David Villalobos, of Mahopac, was mauled by a 400-pound Siberian tiger after he jumped into the tigers den.
Police said Saturday that Villalobos had told detectives that it was without fear that he leaped from an elevated train into the animal's den. His reason, they said, was that "he wanted to be one with the tiger."
Villalobos also recounted how, after he landed on all fours, the 400-pound beast attacked him and dragged him around by his foot, said New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne. Despite serious injuries, he claimed he was able to get his wish and pet the tiger, a male Siberian named Bashuta, before his rescue, the spokesman added.
Police had said earlier that Villalobos admitted to a police officer at the scene that he made a conscious decision to jump. "Everyone has a reason for what they do in life," he was quoted as saying, but that his motives were murky.
That changed when, during a follow-up interview Saturday, Villalobos told detectives that "his leap was definitely not a suicide attempt, but a desire to be one with the tiger," Browne said.
Villalobos remained hospitalized with bites and punctures on his arms, legs, shoulders and back, and a broken arm and a leg caused by the jump.
A.P. Wires services were used in this report.
Man jumps off Bronx Zoo train, mauled by tiger