A team of four senior veterinary doctors operated on a 14-year-old female leopard at the Nehru Zoological Park on Sunday, which was suspected to be suffering from breast cancer.
The female leopard named Preeti, was born in the zoo and has lived most of her life there.
However, it was reported that Preeti was sent for a three-year at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) for `experimental purpose' and came back to the zoo around two years back.
It was also reported that the leopard was used for experimenting with `artificial insemination' at CCMB's Lacones Centre.
For the past two months, the leopard had begun developing a mammary tumour.
Officials told The Times of India that the leopard might have developed the tumour earlier but they only detected it recently.
The surgeons removed the tumour weighing about 200 grams, during a two-hour long operation.
“We have sent the tissue for examination to the Veterinary Biological and Research Institute as it could be cancerous. The animal is recovering from the surgery,” the zoo’s Assistant Veterinary Director MA Hakeem told The Hindu.
The surgery was conducted by Hakeem with the help of G Shambhu Lingam, assistant director animal husbandry, Navin Kumar veterinary consultant at the zoo park and Anil, from the animal husbandry department.
Preeti is said to be out of danger, but will remain under observation for seven days.
The Hindu report said that a similar operation was conducted six years back, when a tumour was removed from a rhinoceros.
However, the animal died of cancer within two years of the surgery because the disease had spread by that time.