Reintroducing wolves to the Highlands may be a controversial topic – but not when it comes to the adorable latest arrivals at the north’s largest wildlife park.
The latest batch of pups at Highland Wildlife Park were born on May 21 to parents Jax and Ruby.
Now five-weeks-old the newest members of the pack at Wolf Wood are becoming more visible to the public as they begin to venture from their den.
Douglas Richardson, head of living collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said: “We are really pleased to have had wolf pups again this year, building on the success we have had with our present wolf pair.
“This is Ruby’s second litter and we are happy to report that she is doing a great job, with the pups staying very close to the den under her watchful eye.”
“The rest of the pack – including the six pups from last year – have been on hand to help with the rearing of the new litter. This helps them to develop vital parenting skills for when they move on to start their own packs in other collections.
“The pups are quite tricky to spot at the moment, but they are starting to become bolder so it won’t be much longer before they will be bounding around with the other pack members.”
The pack at the Kincraig tourist attraction are European wolves, a sub-species of the grey wolf, which used to be the world’s most widely distributed mammal.
However, it now has a much more restricted distribution – and has not been present in the wild in the UK since the 18th century.
The wildlife park’s operator the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has been involved in the conservation of wolves in the wild, including working with partners in Nepal to study the behaviour of the animals and their prey.