China zoo gives up plan to make chubby leopard lose weight

By Minh Nga   June 17, 2024 | 04:00 am PT
China zoo gives up plan to make chubby leopard lose weight
A chubby leopard at China's Panzhihua Zoo, in three photos posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo on May 29, 2024. Photo by Weibo/Fugu Nadeshiko
A zoo in Sichuan Province of China has halted a weight-loss program for an elderly leopard, citing age and stress concerns.

In March, a video of leopard at Panzhihua Zoo went viral with many netizens being amused by the chubby appearance of the big cat. Some netizens even mistook it for a seal.

Soon after, many visitors started flocking to the zoo to see the 16-year-old leopard for themselves.

Many admirers refer to it as Officer Clawhauser in the Disney animated film "Zootopia."

China Daily cited zoo staff in March as saying that the leopard's limited space had restricted its exercise, leading to it being overweight.

A keeper noted that the leopard had gained weight as it aged, and loose skin from aging makes it look even more overweight.

The big cat is fed beef and chicken daily and undergoes annual physical examinations. The keeper confirmed that the leopard's physical functions are normal.

In an attempt to help the leopard shed the excess weight, the zoo attempted to put the animal on a "scientific diet," CCTV reported.

However, officials from the zoo reported last week no significant weight loss in the animal.

For over two months, the 16-year-old big cat had been on a reduced feeding regimen, receiving only half the usual portions.

Zoo officials noted that the restrictions had caused the leopard undue stress, leading them to discontinue the plan.

Sun Quanhui, a senior scientific adviser at World Animal Protection, told the Independent that efforts should be made to encourage the leopard to work for its meals by placing food in challenging spots.

Obesity in animals remains a significant issue in many Chinese zoos, often exacerbated by limited space and suboptimal feeding methods.

go to top