NY man mauled by tiger pleads not guilty

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A man who jumped into a tiger den at the Bronx Zoo and survived a mauling has pleaded not guilty to trespassing charges.

The Bronx district attorney's office says David Villalobos was arraigned Friday and released until another court appearance March 12.

The 25-year-old Villalobos had told investigators that his Sept. 21 leap was not a suicide attempt but "a desire to be one with the tiger." He jumped from a monorail car in the zoo's Wild Asia exhibit and cleared a 16-foot-high fence.

A 400-pound Siberian tiger named Bashuta attacked him. He suffered bites and several other injuries.

He was rescued by zoo officials, who used a fire extinguisher to chase the animal away.

According to the complaint, Villalobos told an officer, "I was testing my natural fear."