Twycross Zoo celebrates a pioneering Mum this Mother’s Day
We are shining a spotlight on a super mum this Mothering Sunday.
Female Amur leopard Kristen has given birth to four cubs since arriving at Twycross Zoo, and with her offspring now located across the globe as part of international breeding programmes, conservation efforts to protect this critically endangered species continue from the heart of the UK.
The Amur leopard is considered to be one of the most endangered big cats in the world, with less than 100 left in the wild. Now ten years old, Kristen arrived at Twycross Zoo aged two, and has since gone on to give birth to four leopard cubs who now live far and wide. Alexi, a male, lives in Estonia, Samara, a female, now lives in Belgium, and Kira, also female, will soon cross the Atlantic to take up residence in the USA.
The fourth cub, Arina, now lives at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park, where she too has become a mother. The long-term aspiration for Arina’s offspring is that it will be released back into the wild as part of a programme.
Dr Rebecca Biddle, director of conservation at Twycross Zoo, said: “Kristen is indeed a shining example of our conservation breeding efforts here at Twycross.
“The possibility of sending captive-bred Amur leopards back to a part of their historic wild range would represent an extraordinary conservation success.
“This is an excellent example of how what we do locally here at Twycross Zoo, to help conserve rare and endangered species, can have global impact.”
Families looking to treat their own super mums this weekend can take advantage of two special Mother’s Day offers. Mums go free on Sunday 27th March, alongside a full-paying adult, child or concession online ticket. Or capture the memories of your visit to Twycross Zoo with a free family photo when you buy four tickets for £75 online. Terms and conditions apply, visit www.twycrosszoo.org/mothers-day for more information.
Visitors to Twycross Zoo can discover more than 400 animals from over 80 different species across the 100-acre site.
Get to know the Amur Leopard:
- Today, the only remaining population of Amur leopards are confined to forests of a temperate region crossed by the Amur River, a natural boundary between China and Russia. They are the only leopard subspecies adapted to survive in both extreme snowy winter and hot summer climates.
- Amur leopards have unique spot patterns which makes them individually identifiable.
- The hairs of an Amur leopard’s summer coat are 2.5cm long. In winter they are replaced by 7cm long ones.Sometimes Amur leopards wrap their long bushy tail around themselves for extra warmth.
- The tongue of an Amur leopard has sharp-pointed rasps, called papillae, which are used to scrape the meat off the bones of its prey.
- Amur leopards are speedy cats able to run up to 35 miles per hour…that’s faster than Usain Bolt (he runs at up to 28 miles per hour)