First sight of rare leopard at Kincraig wildlife park | UK | News

Motion sensitive cameras have now shown two cubs emerging from their den deep within the undergrowth.

It is hoped at least one of them may be released into the wild in Russia in the future.

Douglas Richardson, head of living collections at the park at Kincraig, near Kingussie, 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.”

Funded by an anonymous donation, the Amur leopard habitat at the park is not on view to the public, which helps ensure the cubs retain their wild instincts and behaviour.

The gender of the cubs is not known but keepers hope to find out during health checks in the next few weeks.

RZSS said that although progress has been made in recent years, habitat loss, poaching and conflict with humans remain threats to the Amur leopard, with only about 100 remaining in the wild.

It is hoped cubs born at the Highland Wildlife Park can be released into a region north-east of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East, part of the Amur leopard’s historic wild range.

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