Making plans for Nigel – appeal launches to raise £75,000 for sensory enclosure

Steve Nichols with Nigel, now getting back to his former self.
Steve Nichols with Nigel, now getting back to his former self.
  • Appeal launched to provide popular puma with specialist enclosure
  • Fundraiser follows health scare for the animal
  • Donations approach £1,000 mark in first days

An appeal has been launched to raise £75,000 to provide a big cat with a big following at a wildlife park near Boston with a specialist enclosure in light of his failing vision.

The fundraiser in aid of Nigel the Puma, one of the stars of Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, in Friskney, follows a health scare for the animal – one which attracted large-scale concern from his fans via social media.

Nigel during his treatment.

Nigel during his treatment.

A foreign object in his digestive system left Nigel – who has a congenital eye disorder – severely ill last week, with him refusing food and drinking little.

It would go on to see him receive care from Fenwold Veterinary Practice and with the help of a major enema, Nigel was able to pass the object; what it was, is not clear – but it was very sharp, with bits of bone in it, and about the size of a golf-ball-and-a-half, says the park’s chief executive Steve Nicols.

“We can’t identify exactly what it was,” he said.

While Nigel is now getting back to his former self, the advice sought during the ordeal has highlighted something the park already knew – that to provide Nigel with long-term care, steps need to be taken in light of his deteriorating vision.

People genuinely do love him.

With this in mind, and following the outpouring of sympathy for Nigel during his health scare, an online appeal has been set up to raise funds to provide him with a sensory enclosure.

The fundraising target is £75,000 – made smaller thanks to Evergreen Construction, in Skellingthorpe, offering to donate its time to the build.

In the first days of the appeal, almost £1,000 has been raised, with Skegness’ Hildreds Centre being another organisation which is also lending its support to the project.

Mr Nichols described the public support for Nigel as ‘amazing’, saying: “People genuinely do love him.”