Wildlife park introduces Lynx kittens to public

One of the Northern Lynx kittens takes a drink from the pond in their enclosure. Picture: Getty
One of the Northern Lynx kittens takes a drink from the pond in their enclosure. Picture: Getty
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A SCOTTISH wildlife park had the Lynx effect today - after introducing its latest kittens to the public.

The four month old Northern Lynx kittens are the first of their species to be born at the Highland Wildlife Park, at Kincraig, Invernessshire, in 24 years.

Northern Lynx kittens explore their enclosure

Northern Lynx kittens explore their enclosure

The feline pair can be seen venturing out of their den to explore their enclosure and practice their pouncing at feeding time.

But keepers have still to give them names - as they still don’t know what sex they are.

The kittens, born on May 29, are the first litter produced by the resident pair, Dimma and Switch, which arrived at the Park in February.

Northern Lynx are believed to be the type found historically in Scotland.

The Highland Wildlife Park specialises in Scottish animal species, past and present, and species that are adapted to cold weather.

Una Richardson, head keeper at Highland Wildlife Park, said welcoming the new born Northern Lynx to the Park was almost like welcoming the species back to their Scottish roots.

She said: “It’s fantastic news for us that Dimma and Switch have successfully bred. They are proving real naturals when it comes to rearing their youngsters.

“They are the first lynx kittens to be born at the Highland Wildlife Park in over 20 years.

“At four months old, now is about the usual time that kittens would really start to venture out more and more under the watchful eye of their mother.

“At feeding time it’s great to watch them copy their parents, and pounce on their food. It is always rewarding to see our animals practising their natural behaviours, as they would learn hunting techniques from watching mum in the wild.”

She added: “It will be a little while longer before we are able to sex them, and find out if they are male or female, and then it will be down to the keepers to name them.

“These feisty and playful cats are always a real favourite amongst visitors to the Park, and we always looking forward to seeing what they get up to next.”

Northern Lynx are known for their large and pointy tufted ears that stand straight up, and their short stubby tail.

They occur in Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Western Russia currently. With winter temperatures often falling well below 40 degrees centigrade.

Lynx are ideally adapted to cope with any chilling temperatures -- their fur becomes much denser, which helps to keep them insulated.

They are also extremely strong and agile, making them expert hunters when it comes to stalking down their prey.

The Highland Wildlife Park has recorded its most successful year for the birth of baby animals, with 48 born and reared to 14 species so far this year.

Its success boosts its conservation role with some of the world’s most threatened species.

The attraction, which opened in 1972, has welcomed a variety of young including a pair of Scottish wildcat kittens and a trio of Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys.

The Park also welcomed European bison calves in to the UK’s largest herd, which will eventually play a part in a conservation breeding programme for the threatened species, while its European elk population also grew more than 3000 years after the largest member of the deer family became extinct in Scotland.