Highlands & Islands

Rare Amur leopard cub born in Highland Wildlife Park

Amur leopard Freddo Image copyright RZSS
Image caption Freddo, the father, arrived from Estonia

A rare leopard cub has been born at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's Highland Wildlife Park.

A female and male Amur leopard had been introduced to a new enclosure at Kincraig.

The new cub could be released into the wild in Russia in the future.

Its gender will not be known until a first physical check-up after about three months. There are only thought to be a few dozen Amur leopards left alive in the wild.

Image copyright RZSS
Image caption Mother Arina was born in the Midlands

The park's breeding complex was completed last year and funded by an anonymous donation.

Freddo, the father, arrived from Tallinn Zoo in Estonia, while the mother, Arina, was born at Twycross Zoo in the Midlands.

'Globally unique'

They have been kept off-show in the hope of breeding and rearing cubs almost devoid of human contact.

Douglas Richardson, head of living collections at the park, said: "Being able to send captive-bred Amur leopards back to a part of their historic wild range in Russia would represent an extraordinary conservation success.

"Our approach to managing this highly threatened cat is globally unique, with the zoo and conservation community watching what we do with a view to following our lead."

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