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GALLERY: Huge boost for wildcat species as four adorable kittens born at the Highland Wildlife Park

Wildcat kittens born at the Highland Wildlife Park as part of the park's breeding project. Pictures by Alyson Houston/RZSS
Wildcat kittens born at the Highland Wildlife Park as part of the park's breeding project. Pictures by Alyson Houston/RZSS

Four critically endangered wildcat kittens have been born at the Highland Wildlife Park.

Strom, Eilein, Druim and Vaara were born during lockdown in May to mum Fiain and dad Blair.

It’s terrific news for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), who run the park in Kincraig, as they have been leading the Saving Wildcats project to protect the species by breeding them and then releasing them into the wild.

Visitors now have the chance of spotting the adorable kittens after the wildcat viewing areas of the park were reopened this week.

Keith Gilchrist, animal collection manager at the Highland Wildlife Park, said: “We are thrilled to welcome the birth of four kittens.

“We have one male, Strom, and three females, Eilein, Druim and Vaara.

“It has been great watching them grow and it is fantastic to now be able to welcome visitors to meet them too.”

Wildcats are one of Scotland’s rarest and most threatened mammals.

Last month, the RZSS submitted plans to build 12 timber framed, mesh-roofed breeding enclosures and eight fenced pre-release enclosures on a site to the rear of its Kincraig park.

David Barclay, the ex-situ conservation manager of the Saving Wildcats project, said: “Following a sad history of habitat loss, persecution and, more recently, breeding with domestic cats, wildcats are on the brink of extinction in Scotland but it’s not too late.

“By bringing together the expertise and skills of national and international organisations, the Saving Wildcats project can secure a future for the Highland tiger by breeding and releasing wildcats into the wild, so every birth is a potential lifeline for the species.”

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