The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland is celebrating the births of two litters of an extremely rare breed of Scottish wildcat, sometimes known as the Highland Tiger, at their Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie.
The wildcats are under threat of extinction and it is hoped that this particular litter of kittens will play a major role in maintaining the species.
Wildcats are notoriously reclusive and hard to spot in the wild. It is estimated that there may be as few as 40 left outside reserves such as the Highland Wildlife Park.
Future park visitors are encouraged to look out for the “playful” behaviour of the kittens as they learn to interact with each other and their mother.
Speaking about the birth of these kittens, David Barclay, RZSS Cat Conservation Project Officer said: “The birth of these rare kittens is not just another boost for the captive breeding programme but for the conservation of this magnificent native species as a whole. Through our work with Scottish Wildcat Action, we are doing everything we can to save the Scottish wildcat from extinction and the safety net of the captive breeding programme is becoming more and more vital as wild populations continue to decline.
Thanks to Scottish Wildcat Action, the only national action plan for the species, the future looks brighter for this iconic species.”