A leopard left heartbroken after his former zookeeper moved away is now ‘feline’ fine once more, after his best friend agreed to share his home with him.
Alexander Volkov, 30, moved a three-year-old leopard named Caesar into his home, after leaving his job at Penza Zoo in Penza, central Russia.
Caesar, was cared for by Alexander for around a year, and began to miss his best friend when he moved on from his employment.
Best friends: Leopard Caesar, 3, has moved in with his former zookeeper, Alexander Volkov
Caesar was said to be heartbroken after Alexander, 30, left his job at Penza Zoo in Russia
The spotted animal was cared for by Alexander for around a year before he changed his job
When he began refusing all food and water, the zoo director begged his old employee to take him in.
He said: ‘Caesar has his own room. He’ll spend half the day in my room and the other half around the house.
‘The main difficulty in keeping such an animal at home is understanding that this animal is a savage predator.
‘So I need to be realistic that Caesar is quite dangerous and not just a friend. I have a responsibility not just for Caesar, but also the people living nearby.
All smiles: Alexander and Caesar now live together after the leopard refused to eat or drink
‘We have a lot of understanding between us. He’s very playful, but sometimes he does scratch me a bit.
Wild ride: The sizeable leopard just about fits into the passenger side of Volkov’s car
Part of the family: Alexander revealed that his relatives were ‘stunned’ when he took him in
‘My family were really amazed and stunned when I took him in. They all understand though that I cope with him.
‘He’s not really a pet, he’s more of a family member.’
Despite his newfound happiness, Alexander – who is a former soldier – insists that wild animals shouldn’t live in in captivity.
He said: ‘This wasn’t something I set out to do. I realised Caesar wouldn’t survive without my help, so I had to take him in.
‘I’m happy about it, but wild animals should live in the wild.’