Birth of critically endangered leopard cub captured on CCTV at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

  • Video courtesy of Yorkshire Wildlife Park

The birth of a critically endangered leopard has been caught on camera at a UK animal attraction.

The Amur leopard cub was born to mother Kristen only six months after she was introduced to mate, Drake, at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, as part of an international breeding programme. 

Staff said she was spending most of her time with the cub in their den as rangers monitor the baby’s health and development. 

The park's chief executive John Minion said: “We are overjoyed by the arrival of this beautiful Amur Leopard cub.

"Each birth is a step forward in our mission to conserve endangered species, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of our collective efforts to protect wildlife and their habitats."

Amur leopards are named after the Amur-Heilong region where they live, covering north east China and the far east of Russia.

They are solitary animals that live for up to 15 years and can run at speeds of up to 37mph. Fewer than 100 Amur leopards are thought to be left in the wild.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park is part of an international breeding programme trying to save the species. Credit: PA

Kristen arrived in Yorkshire in December, replacing another Amur leopard which was transferred to Ireland as part of the breeding programme. 

Having had two litters in 2014 and 2016, 11-year-old Kristen is now also a grandmother.

The park successfully bred two cubs in 2015. One is now in France while the other has been part of the breeding programme at a zoo in Colorado. 

Animal director Dr Charlotte McDonald said she was "delighted" to welcome the latest addition.

“Amur leopards are one of the rarest species on the planet and if we don’t run breeding programmes like this one, these beautiful animals will go extinct," she said.

“The end goal is to be able to reintroduce more Amur leopards back into protected areas of their native habitat in Russia and China.”   

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