along the top edge of a fence past elephants, deer and a tiger enclosure.
Passengers aren’t strapped in on the ride, and Villalobos apparently jumped out of his train car with a leap powerful enough to clear the 16-foot-high perimeter fence.
Villalobos was alone with a male Siberian tiger named Bashuta for about 10 minutes beforehewas rescued by zoo officials, who used a fire extinguisher to chase the animal away, said zoo director Jim Breheny.
“When someone is determined to do something harmful to themselves,” Breheny said, “it’s very hard to stop that.”
Bashuta was returned to a holding area where it usually sleeps at night and will not be euthanized, zoo officials said.”The tiger did nothing wrong,” Breheny said.Villalobos suffered bites and punctures on his arms, legs, shoulders and back, and a broken arm and a leg. A hospital spokeswoman said he was in stable condition Saturday, but his family has requested that no further information be released.
“If not for the quick response by our staff and their ability to perform well in emergency situations, the outcome would have been very different,” Breheny said.
After zoo staff chased the tiger off, Villalobos was instructed to roll under an electrified wire to get to safety, Breheny said. Zookeepers then called the tiger into a holding area, he said.
Bashuta is 11 years old and has been at the zoo for three years.
The Bronx Zoo, one of the nation’s largest zoos, sprawls over 265 acres and contains hundreds of animals,