Zoo Tries to Make Obese Leopard Lose Weight, Fails

A Chinese zoo has given up on its plans to help an overweight leopard lose weight after two months of efforts yielded virtually no results.

Back in March, a leopard at the Panzhihua Park Zoo in China’s Sichuan Province became an overnight internet sensation after photos and videos of him went viral online. The overweight feline quickly became known as ‘China’s Officer Clawhauser’, a reference to the overweight police officer from Disney’s hit animated movie, Zootopia. Many people joked that the fat leopard resembled a seal, while others took his deformed frame more seriously, expressing concerns about the animal’s health and general well-being. Due to mounting criticism, the zoo was eventually to put out a statement, promising to make a series of changes to make the leopard lose some of its extra weight. However, it recently announced that its initiative failed miserably, as the real-life Officer Clawhauser hasn’t lost any weight in two months.

Zoo officials said that the leopard, which has been in the zoo since 2010, is now 16 years old, which would make him between 60 and 70 years old in human years, adding that both the animal’s advanced age and limited space for exercising had caused him to balloon in size. However, they pointed out that the feline receives regular checkups, and despite being obese, he is otherwise in good health.

The zoo’s assurances that the leopard was fat but healthy did little to appease the public, so in the end Panzhihua Park Zoo announced a plan to help the animal shed some of the extra pounds through adjustments in feeding, improvements in the environment, and exercise. However, this proved a lot more effective on paper than in practice.

Earlier this month, Panzhihua Park Zoo put out a statement announcing that it was halting efforts to help China’s Officer Clawhauser shed weight, as all efforts over the past couple of months had failed. Despite tearing down an enclosure to double the leopard’s space, putting him on a strict diet, and adjusting his feeding schedule, the big cat didn’t lose any weight. So, after consulting with experts, they decided he was too old to change, and the best thing was to let him be. Leopards can live up to 23 years in captivity.

“All is fine as long as he is healthy and happy,” zoo staff said about Officer Clawhauser.

@peoplesdaily_renminribao A #leopard from a zoo in Panzhihua, Southwest China’s #Sichuan Province has recently gained viral attention due to its overweight. The leopard’s resemblance to Officer Clawhauser, the doughnut-loving leopard police officer from the animated movie “#Zootopia ♬ original sound – People’s Daily 人民日报

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