NY man who 'tested fear' jumping into tiger den enters plea

The 25-year-old man says he made the leap out of a monorail car and into a Bronx Zoo tiger enclosure in order to be "one with the tiger."

NEW YORK — 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."

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