A man jumped out of the Bronx Zoo's monorail into the tiger exhibit Friday afternoon, where he was badly mauled by one of the big cats before zoo employees rescued him using fire extinguishers, zoo officials said.
Authorities identified the jumper as David Villalobos. The 25-year-old suffered "various bites or puncture wounds on his arms and legs and also the top of his shoulder on his back," Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny said.
The tiger could have killed the intruder in an instant, Breheny said, but zoo workers were able to rescue him.
Once the tiger backed away, the man was instructed to roll under a hot wire to safety. The keepers then called the tiger into its exhibit holding area and secured him there, Breheny said.
It appears the man jumped approximately 20 feet into the den, police said. Before rescuers could reach the man to help him, they first had to get the tiger into a cage, authorities said.
Zoo employees contained the tiger in a cage as EMTs rushed to the scene and treated the man, officials said.
Villalobos was taken to Jacobi Hospital in critical condition. The tiger "did nothing wrong" Breheny said, and will not be put down.
Authorities offered no motivation as to why Villalobos took the leap into the tiger cage. His Facebook page lists "Mother Earth" as his religion and features many photos of lions, tigers and other wildlife. A former coworker at Bond New York, the real estate firm where Villalobos worked until a few months ago, said he was a "good guy."
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