At least two new snow leopard cubs have been born in Scotland.
On Saturday May 28, staff at Highland Wildlife Park in Aviemore heard high-pitched sounds in the cubs’ den and two small cubs were spotted by keepers.
The cubs were born to mom Animesh and first time dad Koshi and while all seems well with the newborns, the staff are still cautious at this early stage.
Keith Gilchrist, the park’s Living Collections Manager, said, “We are thrilled to welcome at least two baby snow leopards to Mama Animesh and Dad for the first time, Koshi, but the coming months are critical.
“So far we know there are at least two, but there could be more as we are unable to see clearly inside the cubs’ den.
“At just over a pound, newborn cubs weigh about the same as a loaf of bread and are dependent on their mother for the first few months as they grow and get stronger and stronger. independent.”
In the coming weeks, staff from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) will be able to confirm the number of pups.
The cubs will then be sexed and named.
Mr Gilchrist added: “Like all the animals in our care, our snow leopards play an important role in attracting and engaging thousands of visitors every year so they can learn about the threats the animals face. are faced in the wild and the steps they can take to help.
“Their power to connect people to nature and encourage behavior change is invaluable.”
Now protected across much of their original range, snow leopard populations continue to be threatened due to dwindling prey availability and conflict with local farmers.
The baby snow leopards will remain out of display for visitors for weeks to come as they grow and develop, but visitors may still catch a glimpse of Papa Koshi in his hillside enclosure.