The Yorkshire Wildlife Park has welcomed new arrivals in the form of new Amur Leopard cubs earlier this year. The big cats are amongst the most endangered in the world, with only 70 of them left in the wild.
The cubs, born in June, were hidden from the public, with their arrival only being announced earlier this week. The announcement came with CCTV pictures of the mother and cubs, who are said to be doing well. The CCTV footage has captured every moment of the young cats lives, including their birth on June 28th.
The cubs have been reared in a special, closed off area of the park. This has allowed proud parents Drake and Freya to raise their cubs naturally, and without any help from the park staff.
Conservationists and wildlife experts hope that this could spearhead a movement to reintroduce the leopards back into their native Russia. The big cats became endangered when they were hunted to near extinction, due to the value of their unusual fur. The hope is that thirty animals could be re-introduced in the next 15 years.
This hope is backed up by the boom in population of the natural prey of the Amur leopard, Sika deer.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park Animal Collection Manager Simon Marsh stated that “It is very exciting that in the next two to three years, we could be involved in working with the international conservation community in reintroducing Amur Leopards back into their native Russia.”
Amur Leopards are used to living in extreme cold conditions, and can live up to 15 to 20 years.