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Rare wildcats born at wildlife park

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has welcomed the seven new arrivals in the Highlands.

Wildcat kittens with mother Lossie (RZSS/PA)
Wildcat kittens with mother Lossie (RZSS/PA)

By Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland

A wildlife park has welcomed the arrival of seven rare wildcats.

The kittens are settling in to life at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie with their mothers Katrine and Lossie.

They were born in the conservation charity’s off-show breeding enclosures, which are designed to help retain and develop a range of key behaviours needed to survive in the wild.

Four kittens were born to Katrine and three to Lossie during the summer.

Also dubbed Highland tigers, wildcats look similar to large domestic cats but are larger and stockier with a bushy tail.

A report published earlier this year warned wildcats in Scotland are “at the brink of extinction”.

The study, commissioned by the Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Plan (SWCAP) Steering Group, said there was no longer a viable wildcat population in Scotland.

RZSS is developing plans to deliver the first UK reintroduction project for wildcats, with potential release sites being explored in key locations.

The plans also include the development of a dedicated wildcat reintroduction centre at Highland Wildlife Park.

PA

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