Move in offing for Highland Wildlife park's snow leopards cubs
Get a digital copy of the Northern Times delivered straight to your inbox every week
Two female snow leopards cubs are set to move home soon from the Highland Wildlife Park by Kincraig.
Northumberland Country Zoo near Felton in Northumberland will be adding the pair of beautiful big cats to its collection.
They will be cared for in a spacious, new purpose-built enclosure where they will be able to roam and be looked after by a team of specially trained keepers.
The zoo will be the first and only place in the North East of England to boast snow leopards as part of its collection.
The 13-month-old cubs will leave the wildlife park by Kincraig at the start of next month.
Northumberland Zoo plans to close for a week following their arrival to allow the young cats to settle and acclimatise to their new surroundings before holding an exclusive, snow leopard-themed public reopening ceremony on the weekend of November 7-8.
Maxine Bradley of the family-run, not-for-profit business, said the attraction of full of excitement over the newest arrivals.
“We’re so excited to welcome the young cats to the family, their arrival signals yet another new chapter for Northumberland Zoo, as we strive to be one of the most exciting, conservation-focused attractions in the region," she said.
"Snow leopards are renowned for being highly elusive in the wild, so we’re truly privileged to have them here, offering the public an unprecedented chance to get up close and learn more about these beautiful creatures.
“The cats’ arrivals represent a fantastic boost for the region at a time when good news isn’t so forthcoming. We can’t wait to welcome visitors in to see them!”
Keith Gilchrist, animal collections manager at the Highland Wildlife Park, said: "It has been an incredible year watching our snow leopard cubs grow and they will be missed by everyone here at the park.
"They are and continue to be an incredible ambassador for their relatives in the wild."
Three cubs were born to mum Animesh in September, last year, and were fathered by Chan.
Sadly the male cub had to be euthanized aged four months old as he had colobomoa, a serious eye condition which causes vision problems and severe pain.
Chan arrived at the Badenoch attraction from Zoo Krefeld in Krefeld in Germany in 2015, with Animesh following later the same year from Marwell Zoo in Winchester.
The wild population of snow leopards is estimated to be just 2,700.
They are classed as vulnerable, with threats including declining prey populations, protection of livestock and an increasing demand for their bones in traditional Asian medicine.
They are now protected throughout much of their range and the international trade in the species has been banned.