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Just purrfect... wildcats move to Belfast Zoo

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Belfast Zoo’s new Scottish wildcat couple and native
species, Oscar and Ossian

Belfast Zoo’s new Scottish wildcat couple and native species, Oscar and Ossian

Belfast Zoo’s new Scottish wildcat couple and native
species, Oscar and Ossian

Belfast Zoo’s new Scottish wildcat couple and native species, Oscar and Ossian

Belfast Zoo’s new Scottish wildcat couple and native species, Oscar and Ossian

Belfast Zoo has welcomed a new Scottish wildcat couple in time for Valentine's Day.

Oscar, a male from Alladale Wilderness Reserve in Scotland and Ossian, a female wildcat from Highlands Wildlife Park were both born last year.

Scottish wildcats face intense pressure with numbers continuing to drop rapidly each year, and Belfast Zoo hopes it will be able to play a role in conserving this native species, fight the threat of extinction through breeding and help Scottish wildcat numbers grow.

One of the threats affecting Scottish wildcats are disease and the cross breeding of Scottish wildcats with domesticated tabby or feral cats.

Alyn Cairns, zoo manager, said it was a "pleasure" to welcome the pair.

"We have hopes of taking part in a new breeding programme with wildlife reserve partners in Scotland," he added.

Belfast Telegraph