By James Somper
A zoo keeper has moved in with his best friend – a leopard.
Alexander Volkov, 30, moved in with Caesar the leopard after the former solider left his zookeeper job at Penza Zoo in Penza, central Russia.
Caesar, who has been cared for by Alexander for around a year but began to miss his best friend soon after departure.
The heartbroken leopard became so upset that he began to refuse all food and water that the zoo director had to beg Alexander to take him in.
Alexander now shares his home with the now happy leopard.
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 realistic that Caesar is quite dangerous and not just a friend the responsibility not just about the Caesar but also about the people living nearby.
“We have a lot of understanding between us. He’s very playful but sometimes he does scratch me a but.
“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 insists that wild animals shouldn’t liven in captivity.
He said: “This wasn’t something I set out to do. I realised Caesar wouldn’t survive without my help so In had to take him in.
“I’m happy about it but don’t think that wild animals should live in the wild.”