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Three new Scottish wildcat kittens born at safari park

The rare species is under threat from extinction, with numbers as low as 110.

Scottish Wildcats: New arrivals welcomed at Highland Wildlife Park.
Scottish Wildcats: New arrivals welcomed at Highland Wildlife Park. RZSS/ Siân Addison

Three rare Scottish wildcat kittens have been born at a wildlife centre as efforts continue to save the species from extinction.

The three kittens, born to mother Ness and father Zak, were born on April 11 at Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie and are now becoming more independent of their mother.

The animals are beginning to leave their dens and explore their enclosures.

Scottish wildcats are under threat in the wild from habitat loss and cross-breeding with domestic cats, with numbers as low as 110.

The new kittens' arrival means the Royal Zoological Society Scotland (RZSS) centre has reared 20 new wildcats in the last four years.

Douglas Richardson, head of living collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said: "The three female kittens are another important addition to the captive population.

"Fathered by wild-born dad Zak, who came to us as an abandoned kitten in 2012, they possess genes which are valuable to the population and will allow new breeding pairs to be established in the future.

"Born in April, the three youngsters are becoming more confident as they settle into their surroundings and can be seen in the forest habitat at the park."

He added: "Our plan is that they will go on to play an important role in the conservation of the species and, with possibly as few as 110 wildcats left in the wild, the importance of a well-managed captive population cannot be overstated."

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