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Scientists prove that 'big cats' roamed the countryside

The Canadian Lynx was discovered in Bristol Museum's storeroom Credit: Southampton University

The rediscovery of a mystery animal in a museum’s underground storeroom proves that a non-native ‘big cat’ prowled the British countryside at the turn of the last century.

The animal’s skeleton and mounted skin was analysed by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and researchers at Southampton, Durham, Bristol, and Aberystwyth universities and found to be a Canadian lynx – a carnivorous predator more than twice the size of a domestic cat.

The research, published today in the academic journal Historical Biology, establishes the animal as the earliest example of an “alien big cat” at large in the British countryside.

Hooray, we have new names! Baby leopards celebrate

Zeya and Manchurian at play Credit: Wildlife Heritage Foundation

Two rare baby leopards born at a Kent Wildlife Sanctuary have been named, thanks to Meridian viewers. Following an appeal for suggestions, staff at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Smarden chose from hundreds of options.

They've called the female Amur cub Zeya and the boy, Manchurian. Both names are linked to the region in Russia where the leopards originate from.

There were some more wacky suggestions, though, from Fred-eater and Sang-eater to Chip and Dale. But we think these ones suit them.

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Bert and Ernie or Chip and Dale?

Your name suggestions for two rare baby leopards born recently in Kent have been coming in thick and fast.

Here are our favourites so far:

Fred-eater and Sang-eater (geddit?)

Sweet and Sour

George (girl) and Michael - Sangeeta's favourite

Remelen and Jovore - Hope and Future in Hungarian!

Albert and VictoriaLubov (love) and Innya (innocent)

Mo (Farah) and Ellie (Simmonds)

Itchy and Scratchy

The Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Smarden would love to hear more, so add your suggestions here or email getinvolved@whf.org.uk

Click below for some great video of the cubs.

Charles and Camilla or Albert and Victoria?

Those are just two of the suggestions Meridian viewers have sent in for the baby leopards that have been born in Kent.

The young girl and boy were born at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Smarden and are extremely rare.

There are only around 30 Amur leopards left in the wild.

The charity wants Meridian's viewers to help name them. Here are some of the suggestions that the WHF have come up with: Nikon (meaning victory), Kira (ruler), Yeisha (first woman) and Machurian (the rise of the Amur River).

Some of the ideas we've had from viewers so far include Fredeater and Sangeater, Spit and Spot, Sweet and Sour, Charles and Camilla or Albert and Victoria!

What would your names be? Add them to the WHF Facebook page here or email getinvolved@whf.org.uk

Click on the link below for inspiration.

What would you call us? Rare baby leopards need names

A wildlife sanctuary in Kent is celebrating the birth of two extremely rare Amur Leopard cubs.

They were born a couple of months ago to Mum Xizi as part of a breeding programme at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Smarden.

And with only 30 of them left in the wild, it's a timely event - the Amur Leopard is now the rarest big cat on our planet. Andrea Thomas went to meet the new arrivals. Click on the link below to see her report.

Staff at the Big Cat Sanctuary need your help to give the cubs - one boy and one girl - new names

What would you call them?

The Wildlife Heritage Foundation would love to hear from you - or email getinvolved@whf.org.uk

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Help us name these rare baby leopards

One baby boy, one baby girl - what do you think these cuties should be named? Credit: Wildlife Heritage Foundation

Two rare baby leopards have been born at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation at Smarden in Kent.The Amur leopard is the rarest big cat in the world. It's estimated that there are only around 30 of them left in the wild.

Staff at the Big Cat Sanctuary hope to introduce them to a special breeding programme safeguard the future of the species.

But first, the little brother and sister need to have names. What would you call them?

The Wildlife Heritage Foundation would love to hear your suggestions. Post your ideas here or email them at getinvolved@whf.org.uk