Newborn snow leopard cubs explore Scottish Highlands

Mother and her three snow leopard cubs which have been born at the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. Picture: PA
Mother and her three snow leopard cubs which have been born at the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. Picture: PA
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These newborn snow leopard cubs are just starting to explore the outside world - and hopes are high they will be a 'lifeline' for the increasingly endangered species.


The seven-week old cubs have just started to leave their cubbing box, and are venturing out to explore their surroundings at Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie, in the Scottish Highlands.

For the next two years, they will stay with their mother, Animesh, who was brought to the park from Marwell Zoo, in Hampshire, in 2015.

The cubs' father, Chan, arrived at the park, near Kingussie, from Zoo Krefeld, Germany, in 2015.

He is being kept separately from the cubs and their mother.

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One of three snow leopard cubs which have been born at the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. Picture: PA.

One of three snow leopard cubs which have been born at the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. Picture: PA.

Head of carnivores at the wildlife park, Una Richardson, said: "We are thrilled, though we remain cautious as this is still a very delicate stage in their development.

"Animesh has had three cubs and they will be health checked by our keepers and vets around three weeks from now.

"Snow leopards are relatively solitary animals so dad Chan is living separately from Animesh and the cubs, who will remain with their mum until they are around two years old.

"With a wild population estimated to be as low as 2,700, snow leopards are classed as vulnerable, with threats including declining prey populations, protection of livestock and an increasing demand for their bones in traditional Asian medicine.

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"The good news is they are now protected throughout much of their range and the international trade in the species has been banned.

"Animesh and Chan are part of the European endangered species breeding programme, with every birth being a potential lifeline and increasing the possibility of future generations being reintroduced into the wild."