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Rare Chinese cats get new home

Rare Chinese leopards have moved into their new home at Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury.

The elusive animals from north China aren't often seen in captivity. A new glass fronted enclosure's been specially built for them.

Neil Spooner, Animal Director said: "Leopards occupy the largest geographical range of any species of cat. They are found throughout Africa, Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, north into China and the Russian Federation.

"Sadly the north Chinese leopard is now restricted to small fragmented populations in northern China."

Leopard Spotting

Leopard
A North Chinese Leopard explores its new home at Howletts Credit: Dave Rolfe

The North Chinese Leopard is a rare and elusive beast - and up to now visitors to a Kent wildlife park have been lucky to catch a glimpse of the three which are kept there.

Now though Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury has introduced a glass-fronted enclosure which contains natural foliage as well as high platforms and climbing poles to encourage the leopards to behave naturally.

Leopard
A North Chinese leopard enjoys the views in the open top enclosure. Credit: Dave Rolfe

It should also make them much easier to spot.

The leopards are famous for their distinctive markings - they have a darker coat than other leopards, spotted with dark rosettes.

Neil Spooner, Animal Director said: ''This is great news for the leopards. ‘Leopards occupy the largest geographical range of any species of cat.

''They are found throughout Africa, Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, north into China and the Russian Federation. Sadly the north Chinese leopard is now restricted to small fragmented populations in northern China.''

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Troupe welcomes endangered baby monkey

Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury, has welcomed a newborn Sulawesi macaque into its midst.

The mini macaque, born just three weeks ago, joins its slightly older and adventurous siblings to take the troupe’s numbers to twelve.

Head Primate Keeper, Matt Ford said: "This little one is really cute and is progressing very well - the youngster is a fast learner and is already starting to find its own feet rather than be carried by mum.

"I’m sure it won’t be long before visitors can see it bouncing around and playing with its brothers and sisters."

Sulawesi macaques are one of the most endangered of the macaque species found in Sulawesi and have been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered, due to habitat destruction and hunting.

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