Mum of four new cubs inspires Twycross Zoo to celebrate Mother's Day

There are less than 100 Amur leopards left in the wild.

In celebration of the most endangered big cat species in the world giving birth at Twycross Zoo, mums get free tickets this Mother's Day.


Kristen, an Amur leopard at the zoo, has become the mother of four since her arrival at the conservation charity.


Kristen arrived at Twycross Zoo eight years ago at the age of two.


Her babies will now be found in different countries across the world. Alexi, the only male, lives in Estonia while Samara lives in Belgium. Kira is set to make herself at home in the USA while the fourth cub Arina is staying at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's Highland Wildlife Park.


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.”


Visitors to Twycross Zoo can discover more than 400 animals from over 80 different species across the 100-acre site.


Mums go free on Sunday, March 27 alongside a full-paying adult, child or concession online ticket.

Getting to know the Amur Leopard


Considered one of the most endangered types of big cat in the world, the Amur leopard, terrifyingly, has less than 100 of its species left in the wild.


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).

 

Written by Fox Whitemore

Fox is a 23-year-old Media and Communications graduate from De Montfort University and currently working as an intern for Cross Productions. He is passionate about writing both creatively and journalistically, loves working with the local community and would love to be writing as a full time job in the future.