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Snow leopard cubs born in the Highlands

The species has an estimated wild population of 2,700 but has several threats to its falling numbers.

The cubs have started to leave their cubbing box and explore outside (Sian Addison/RZSS)
The cubs have started to leave their cubbing box and explore outside (Sian Addison/RZSS)

By Conor Riordan, PA Scotland

A litter of snow leopard cubs has been born at a conservation park in the Highlands.

The seven-week-old cubs are still being nursed by mother Animesh at Highland Wildlife Park, and have started to leave their cubbing box and explore outside.

Staff at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland attraction will be on hand through the coming weeks to care for the three youngsters, who are in a critical stage for survival.

Una Richardson, the park’s head of carnivores, 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.”

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.

The species has an estimated wild population of 2,700.

PA

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