David Villalobos, man who jumped into tiger den at the Bronx Zoo, pleads not guilty to trespassing

David Villalobos
Facebook via CBS New York

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - David Villalobos, a man who jumped into a tiger den at the Bronx Zoo and survived a mauling, has pleaded not guilty to trespassing charges, CBS New York reports.

The Bronx district attorney's office says Villalobos, of Mahopac, N.Y., was arraigned Friday and released until another court appearance March 12.

The 25-year-old Villalobos had told investigators his Sept. 21, 2012 leap was not a suicide attempt but "a desire to be one with the tiger," CBS New York reports.

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

Villalobos was attacked by a 400-pound Siberian tiger named Bashuta. He suffered bites on his arms, legs, shoulders and back. He also had a broken right shoulder, right rib, right ankle and pelvis and a collapsed lung.

According to the complaint, Villalobos told an officer, "I was testing my natural fear," CBS New York reports.

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