Nightly News | September 22, 2012
>> were trying to figure out why a man decided to place himself in life threatening danger the way he did. why would anyone want to jump into into the tigers' den at a zoo? we get the story tonight from nbc's michelle franzen .
>> reporter: at the bronx zoo today it was business as usual .
>> i didn't really care. just wanted to come to the zoo, look at animals.
>> reporter: following the unusual attack yesterday when officials say a man jumped into the tigers' den. zoo officials say 25-year-old david villalobos was riding the monorail tour when he leaped from the train and cleared a 16-foot-high fence putting himself face to face with a siberian tiger named bashuda.
>> he made a deliberate effort to get over the fence. it was not by accident.
>> reporter: he was in the tiger exhibit for ten minutes. zoo officials say he's lucky the 400-pound animal didn't kill him.
>> the tiger did nothing wrong at all. if the tiger wanted to do harm to this individual, he certainly would have had time to do that.
>> reporter: still, villalobos suffered bites to the arms, shoulder and leg. zoo workers had to use a fire extinguisher to get the tiger to back off and were able to get villalobos to cross under an electrified fence to safety. initially zoo officials thought he wanted to take his own life. he told investigators today his leap was definitely not a suicide attempt, but a desire to be one with the tiger. on his facebook page villalobos described a fascination with wildlife and tigers. he remains in the hospital and he will be charged with trespassing for his potentially deadly stunt. michelle franzen , nbc news, new york.