Tiger maul victim identified as ex Bond broker

From left: David Villalobos and a Bronx Zoo tiger (Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society)
From left: David Villalobos and a Bronx Zoo tiger (Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society)

Updated: The Mahopac, N.Y. man who Friday jumped from the Bronx Zoo monorail into the tiger’s den, suffering serious injuries but ultimately defying death, was identified as David Villalobos, a former real estate agent with Bond New York.

Villalobos, 25, suffered puncture wounds to his extremities and to his shoulders and back, after being mauled by a 400-pound Siberian tiger named Bachuta, according to press reports. Asked by police why he made the potentially fatal leap, Villalobos said, “Everybody in life makes choices,” NYPD spokesperson Paul Browne told the Associated Press.

The real estate agent, who primarily represented rental units, had worked at Bond for about seven months, beginning last year. A source told The Real Deal that he had simply stopped showing up for work, and another said he was no longer with the company as of about six months ago. 

Late Friday, Bond’s founder Bruno Ricciotti released the following statement: “On behalf of BOND New York we would like to extend our sincerest well wishes to David for a speedy recovery. He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.”

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Ricciotti could not immediately be reached for further comment.

In addition to puncture wounds, Villalobos suffered a broken arm and leg. He was in the tiger’s den — part of the zoo’s Asia Wild exhibit — for about 10 minutes, before zoo officials were able to bring him to safety. Villalobos was listed in serious condition at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, according to the New York Times.

Villalobos was charged Saturday with misdemeanor trespassing, NBC News reported.

Villalobos’ Facebook page features many photos of wild animals, including one posted a day  before the incident of a mother tiger tending to her cub.

In The Real Deal’s ranking of residential brokerages, Bond New York came in at No. 5, when assessed by the total number of agents; Bond had 515 agents, as of May 2012. The brokerage came in No. 12, when ranked by the dollar value of its Manhattan’s listings. As of May, Bond had some $27 million in listings. –Gabrielle Birkner