Lincolnshire Wildlife Park goes ‘above and beyond’ for Nigel the puma with new enclosure

An impressive sensory enclosure has been built for beloved senior puma Nigel at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park. It was designed to be fully accessible to Nigel, 10, who suffers from arthritis and poor eyesight due to his age.

It opened on Monday, June 13 after about two years of hard work setting it up. Features of the new enclosure include ramps, heated beds on the floor, thick concrete to keep it cool, trees for cover and hiding.

Nigel has been at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park for seven years and is now settling into his new enclosure. He first entered it three weeks ago for a week so he could familiarize himself with it.

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Steve Nichols, CEO of Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, said: “It’s such an exciting thing for us. People need to understand that because we’re a sanctuary, not a zoo, we morally have no choice but to go beyond what people would classify as a normal speaker.

Nigel the cougar in his new sensory enclosure at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park.

“We put on a show to show how luxurious it is from a health perspective. Having underfloor heated beds is pure luxury, but for us it’s medically necessary for anyone with arthritis. “

He added: “We designed it so it never really has to strain and the flavor centers will also be the same. It will create a pattern inside its brain where it should be able to walk around the enclosure if its sight deteriorates further.

“One way or another we will make it, there is never a question of whether and it is for all the creatures on site. They are here for a sanctuary for long term care and before it becomes a natural impact by our vets we will do whatever it takes [to care for them].”

Nigel the cougar in his new sensory enclosure at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park.
Nigel the cougar in his new sensory enclosure at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park.

The enclosure cost more than £250,000 and Andy Ferguson, director of Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, expressed his gratitude to people who donated money to help defray the costs. He said: “It’s absolutely brilliant, his comfort level has increased dramatically.

“He’s an absolutely lovable character, he loves people watching and getting attention and he’s really easy going.” Mr Ferguson explained that while Nigel’s eyesight is poor, he compensates for his hearing and senses.

Mr. Nichols added: His temperament is better and he is much more vocal in a pleasant way. It’s not nice to see an elegant cat limp but he changed his way of walking to avoid the discomfort he would feel.

“Their characters are part of us, they are not zoo animals.”

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