The birth of three snow leopard cubs has ushered in new hope for the endangered species.
A new litter of snow leopard cubs have been born at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's (RZSS) Highland Wildlife Park.
Under the watchful eye of their mother, Animesh the three curious snow leopard cubs which were born seven weeks ago have begun to explore their surroundings in the Cairngorms based reserve.
Una Richardson, the wildlife park's head of carnivores, said: “We are thrilled, though we remain cautious as this is still a very delicate stage in their development”.
As the snow leopard's population has declined by 20 per cent in the past 20 years these three cubs represent hope for future generations.?
Ms Richardson said: “Animesh and Chan (the cub’s father) are part of the European endangered species breeding programme.”?
Since 2017, Snow leopards have been classed as a vulnerable species due to threats like habitat loss and “increasing demand for their bones in traditional Asian medicine” explained Ms Richardson.
She explained how with an estimated wild population of 2,700 each cub increases the possibility of future generations being reintroduced into the wild.?
Their mother, Animesh, will continue to nurture them until they reach adolescence at around two years old.
Snow leopards are solitary by nature so the cub's father is currently living separately from them and Animesh.?