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Bronx Zoo tiger 'did nothing wrong,' man facing charges (VIDEO)


Tony, a Siberian Tiger, sits in a renovated big cat grotto at the San Francisco Zoo Feb. 21, 2008 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Zoo reopened its big cat grottos for public viewing almost two months after a man was fatally mauled by a Siberian tiger that escaped from its enclosure on Christmas day. On Sept. 21, 2012, a man in the New York was attacked by a tiger after jumping into its enclosure at the Bronx Zoo.


Justin Sullivan

The tiger that mauled a man who jumped into its Bronx Zoo enclosure "did nothing wrong," and actually cut the guy a break, officials said.

The man, 25-year-old David Villalobos, jumped from an elevated monorail into the tiger's den at the Wild Africa exhibit on Friday afternoon.

He fell almost 20 feet, where a 400-pound male cat named Bashuta awaited.

Villalobos spent 10 minutes in the enclosure with the giant cat, suffering puncture wounds, bites and a broken arm and leg, The Associated Press said.

Zoo officials said the cat won't be punished or destroyed.

"The tiger did nothing wrong in this episode," zoo director Jim Breheny told the AP.

Villalobos, however, won't be so lucky.

Police said today he's likely facing tresspassing charges, the AP later reported.

More from GlobalPost: Tiger mauls man at New York's Bronx Zoo

Some news outlets reported Villalobos was attempting suicide, but police today said he told them he "wanted to be one with the tiger."

"Everybody in life makes choices," he told police, AP reported.

Reports Villalobos lost a leg or foot in the incident appear to be premature.

Fox5 News said the tiger acted "mercifully" by not killing him.

"What they typically do is, grab a prey animal by the head or in the back of the neck, and then it's over very quickly," Breheny told Fox5. "This cat did not do this."

"We did not use deadly force, but we were prepared to do so if we had to."

Officials said today Villalobos is recovering in hospital in stable condition, NBC News reported.

Staff used fire extinguishers to force the tiger into its enclosure.

Villalobos rolled to safety under an electrified fence.

Friends told NBC that Villalobos had started acting strangely of late.

"I saw some of the stuff he wrote on Facebook and it seemed a little strange," Paul Giarraputo said, NBC reported. "He wrote a lot of deep emotional things -- very religious, spiritual. I wouldn't say depressing. He was very in tune with his mind and religion."

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