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Man Who Jumped Into Tiger Den At Bronx Zoo Pleads Not Guilty

David Villalobos on Jan. 11, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

David Villalobos on Jan. 11, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/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 said David Villalobos was arraigned Friday and released until another court appearance March 12.

The 25-year-old Villalobos had told investigators his Sept. 21 leap was not a suicide attempt but “a desire to be one with the tiger.”

Web Extra: Read The Criminal Complaint (.pdf)

He jumped from a monorail car in the zoo’s Wild Asia exhibit and cleared a 16-foot-high fence.

He was attacked by a 400-pound Siberian tiger named “Bashuta.” He suffered bites and several other injuries.

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

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

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)