First images of Highland Wildlife Park’s rare leopard cubs
Motion cameras in an enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park in the Cairngorms have taken the first images of two rare Amur leopard cubs.
The three-month-old cats were born in a part of the zoo off-limits to the public, and rarely visited by staff.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland hopes this reduced human presence will make the cubs eligible for a reintroduction project.
It is not known yet the sex of the cubs, or if they have siblings.
Their birth was announced in July.
The motion-sensitive cameras photographed the two cubs after they emerged from their den.
At least one of the cubs may be released into the wild in Russia in the future, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland said.
Arina, the cubs’ mother, was born at Twycross Zoo in the Midlands and their father, Freddo, was formerly kept at Tallin Zoo in Estonia.
Both leopards arrived at the park near Kincraig in 2016.
Douglas Richardson, head of living collections at the park, said, “We are delighted that Arina has two cubs, with both appearing to be strong and healthy.
“Our Amur leopard habitat is the only one within the zoo community which has been designed to breed these extremely rare cats with the aim of producing cubs that are eligible for reintroduction to the wild.
“While this would be incredibly complex, it would also be a world first and a huge step forward in the conservation of this critically-endangered cat.”