Nigel the puma the 'happiest he's ever been' after having his leg amputated

A Lincolnshire wildlife park’s resident puma, whose keepers faced the difficult decision of whether to euthanize the animal or amputate a painful leg, has ‘never been happier’ having had the operation.

Nigel recovering from his operation.
Nigel recovering from his operation.

Nigel is back out in the ‘wilds’ of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park just over a month after his life-saving treatment.

A star attraction at the park in Friskney, Nigel had been deteriorating having suffered serious acute arthritis in his front left leg.

However, Steve Nichols, park chief executive, said that following the operation he was recovering quicker than they ever imagined

The operation to remove Nigel's leg.

Supporters of Nigel crowdfunded almost £5,000 for his treatment and 20,000 fans stayed up all night with Steve during his on Facebook live broadcast to help him stay awake as he watched over his patient.

"It got to the point where we had to say we have two options here - he either gets euthanised, or we give him a chance of life." Mr Nicholls explained.

"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.”

"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 what we thought," he said.

This is the second time Nigel has escaped euthanasia having risen to fame following a £250,000 crowdfunding campaign to build him a purpose-built sensory enclosure due to him facing blindness with a serious eye condition.

In one of the latest updates on Facebook, the wildlife park reported Nigel was “the happiest he has ever been”.

"He's adapted quicker than we ever thought mainly due to him not using his leg due to arthritis towards the end,” they said.

“The biggest issue with his recovery was we couldn't get him him to stay still.

" We kitted his bedroom with padding making it bump proof and steps up to make transitioning easier .

“We were blown away by his attitude – he healed faster and is jumping faster.”