A trio of adorable Northern lynx cubs have been born in the Highlands.
The cubs were born on 26 May and, having spent the first couple of months safely tucked in their den, have started to wander out and explore their large outdoor enclosure.
The cubs were born to female Dimma and male Switch, and are the fifth consecutive litter of cubs reared by the lynx pair. The cubs from previous years have moved on to other zoological collections as part of a co-ordinated breeding programme.
Vickie Larkin, carnivore team leader at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said: “We are incredibly pleased to have had lynx cubs again this year. The cubs are doing well and are extremely playful.
“Dimma and Switch arrived at the Park in 2012 and have had a litter of cubs every year since their arrival, which is testament to the team’s husbandry experience as well as their spacious enclosure.”
The adorable feline trio can be seen playing and tumbling about their enclosure at the Park. Whilst initially nervous when they first left their den, they have become more confident and have been adventurously exploring and playing in their enclosure.
RZSS Highland Wildlife Park’s lynx are part of the European Zoo Association’s coordinated breeding programme and, although overall the species is not endangered, it had become locally extinct in many areas across Europe, resulting in some sub-populations being considered as endangered or even critically endangered.
The lynx was formerly native to the UK until possibly as late as the Middle Ages.
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Loss of habitat, reduced prey availability and hunting are the biggest threats to wild lynx populations. There have been a number of successful lynx reintroduction projects within Europe, including in Switzerland and France. RZSS is part of the National Species Reintroduction Forum’s Lynx Working Group which ensures that lynx reintroduction proposals are assessed in a fair, balanced and evidence-based fashion. The Northern lynx is one of a number of subspecies of Eurasian lynx.