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Rare wildcat kittens born at Highlands field centre

Rare wildcat kittens born at Highlands field centre

The kittens explore their enclosure while mum Glynis snoozes
Two Scottish wildcat kittens have been born at a centre involved in a captive breeding programme.The mammals have been described as "functionally extinct" in the wild.Their numbers are now so low that new research has concluded there is "no longer a viable wildcat population living wild in Scotland".The two female kittens were born at the Aigas Field Centre near Beauly in the Highlands. The centre has had a breeding programme since 2011.
The kittens are only weeks old
It forms part of the wider Scottish Wildcat Action project involving the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which has wildcats at its Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore.
Aigas' kittens are the first litter for a wildcat called Glynis.They are now a few weeks old and have started exploring their enclosure.
The kittens are both females
In the future wildcats bred at Aigas could be released into the wild, but the centre said threats to the species had still to be overcome.Breeding with domestic cats is a major threat to the survival of Scotland's genetically-pure wildcats.The animals have also declined due to loss of habitat and disease.
Captive bred wildcats could be released into the wild in the future
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