Wildcat kittens doing well and exploring home at wildlife park, say keepers

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Five critically endangered Scottish wildcat kittens have been settling into life at a wildlife park following their birth.

The kittens were born at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) Highland Wildlife Park in early April.

Keepers say they are doing well and will receive their first health checks in the coming weeks when vets will be able to determine their sex.

Keith Gilchrist, animal collection manager at Highland Wildlife Park, said: “We are thrilled to welcome five Scottish wildcat kittens born to mum, Talla, and dad, Blair, on April 2 2023.

Keepers say the kittens are becoming more confident (RZSS/PA)

“The kittens are doing extremely well and are getting more confident every day. It has been fantastic to see them growing curious about their surroundings and start exploring their home with Talla by their side.

“Wildcats are Scotland’s most iconic animal but, sadly, also one of our most endangered. This incredible species in on the brink of extinction due to historic habitat loss and hunting.

“More recently they have become increasingly threatened by interbreeding with domestic cats.”

Visitors can spot Talla and her five kittens exploring Highland Wildlife Park’s on-show enclosures in Wildcat Wood.

RZSS leads the partnership project Saving Wildcats, working with national and international experts to restore Scotland’s critically endangered wildcat population by breeding and releasing them into the Cairngorms Connect area of the Cairngorms National Park, while mitigating the threats they may face.

Wildcats born at the society’s breeding-for-release centre based at Highland Wildlife Park in 2022 are due to be released later this year.

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