Man Who Jumped Into Tiger Cage at NYC Bronx Zoo Pleads Not Guilty

The 25-year-old New York man who jumped into a tiger's cage at the Bronx Zoo and gave police officers cryptic reasons for doing so has pleaded not guilty to trespassing charges.

David Villalobos, of Mahopac in upstate New York, entered his plea Friday in Bronx Criminal Court, and must return to court on March 12.

Villalobos jumped over a 16-foot-high fence into the cage of a 400-pound Siberian tiger at the zoo on Sept. 21 and suffered numerous injuries from the fall, in addition to scratches and bruises from the tiger, said to be named Bashuta.

According to The New York Post's review of court documents, Villalobos and Bashuta were alone for approximately 10 minutes.

Police officers say that when Villalobos was questioned about his behavior, the 25-year-old responded, "Everyone makes choices and we have our reasons in life why we do things."

At another time, he reportedly said, "I was testing my natural fear. You would not understand, it is a spiritual thing. I wanted to be at one with the tiger."

According to court documents, Villalobos told another officer questioning his behavior, "I was testing my natural fear. You would not understand, it is a spiritual thing. I wanted to be at one with the tiger."

The Bronx Zoo director was quoted as saying that the Siberian tiger did nothing wrong, and suggested that Villalobos deliberately endangered himself.

Lohud.com reports that the defendant once worked as a salesman for real estate firm Bond New York.