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Nigel the puma recovering after amputation

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Park bosses said the surgery went well, and Nigel had already had “a little go at standing up”

A wildlife park’s resident puma is recovering after having a leg amputated.

Nigel, who is one of the star attractions at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, near Boston, needed the operation after developing arthritis.

Steve Nichols, park chief executive, said the surgery had gone well, and Nigel had already had “a little go at standing up”.

Fans of Nigel crowdfunded almost £5,000 for his treatment.

Mr Nichols thanked everyone for their support and said about 13,000 fans followed Nigel’s progress on the park’s Facebook page.

Mr Nichols said Nigel’s condition had deteriorated in recent months and “he had developed serious acute arthritis in his left elbow”.

“It got to the point where we had to say we have two options here – he either gets euthanized, or we give him a chance of life.” he said.

“There were a lot of people rooting for him [and] if we had chosen the other method I think people would have hunted me down,” he said.

“A three-legged cat is far better – he’s not going to have to hunt as he has his food delivered,” he added.

The operation also provided a chance for vets to check on Nigel’s eyesight.

Mr Nichols said Nigel, who is nearly 10 years old, had exotropia, an eye condition that could render him blind in the future.

“His eyesight has deteriorated a little, but not as bad as we thought,” he said.

Nigel the puma

Nigel the puma resting following his surgery

Mr Nichols said Nigel, who lives in a purpose-built sensory enclosure due to his poor eyesight, woke up at about 04:30 BST on Thursday, more than 12 hours after his surgery.

“His tongue disappeared back in his mouth – he opened his eyes, did a big yawn and went back to sleep again.”

Having spent at least 26 hours providing aftercare for the much-loved cat, with very little sleep, Mr Nichols likened the experience to being a parent with “poorly kids”.

“You just go into a different mode,” he added.

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