SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Leonardo’s previous owners abused and neglected him, declawed him, removed his canine teeth, and left him sick and malnourished with a roadside zoo in Arizona.
But since then, Leonardo has been doing much better, thanks to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.
SWCC normally works with animals in the western United States, but they couldn’t overlook the beautiful leopard right in front of them.
Leonardo the leopard was in the Las Vegas entertainment industry where his owners removed his claws and teeth in order to make him safer around people, and after they were finished with him, they sold him to a roadside zoo.
The leopard was suffering from pneumonia, malnourished and living in a tiny, dirty cage until he came to SWCC.
Since bonding with staff at SWCC, Leonardo has made progress, gaining weight, eating healthy and playing with toys.
In his current enclosure at the Scottsdale sanctuary, he has a small patch of grass that he has become very attached to.
"We're pretty sure he'd never seen grass before," said Hillary Cummens of Southwest Wildlife in a press release. "Leonardo loves lying on the grass. He gets irritated when we water it because he has to move…and we've promised him all the grass he wants in his new enclosure."
Since being declawed, Leonardo’s paws are mangled and sore and he is unable to jump and climb like leopards are supposed to.
Staff working with Leonardo said that he recently began limping and they noticed drainage coming from his rear paw.
When veterinarians took X-rays of his foot, they realized it was infected, necrotic and needed surgery.
Right now, they’re raising funds to perform Leonardo’s surgery, according to the press release.
His new enclosure is under construction with trees to relax beneath and tons of soft, cool grass to soothe his sore feet.
To find out how you can help Leonardo the leopard, visit their website .
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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