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Ashford's Big Cat Sanctuary welcomes snow leopard cub


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Staff at an animal sanctuary have welcomed a stunning new arrival.

A rare snow leopard cub has been born at the Big Cat Sanctuary near Ashford.

The Big Cat Sanctuary welcomes a new snow leopard cub

On September 15, the sanctuary’s CCTV cameras captured the incredible moment when Laila gave birth to a healthy male cub.

Staff are so far calling the new addition 'Little Cub' but a naming competition is planned.

They say he has been developing brilliantly so far and can be seen cuddling up with his experienced mum, Laila.

It is the second time Laila has had cubs at the sanctuary alongside her breeding partner Yarko, after they became parents to two males, Koshi and Khumbu.

The Big Cat Sanctuary have welcomed a baby snow leopard. Photo: Big Cat Sanctuary
The Big Cat Sanctuary have welcomed a baby snow leopard. Photo: Big Cat Sanctuary

'Little Cub' weighs 1.8kg and will stay inside the den with his mother for around two months, taking his first steps outside after being fully vaccinated.

Snow leopards are an endangered species and are classed as vulnerable on The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, with around just 4,000 to 6,000 left in the wild.

They are highly threatened due to poaching for their fur and the traditional medicine trade.

A sanctuary spokesman said: "Second-time mum, Laila, has taken the role of motherhood in her stride, and we are so proud of her.

"She is very caring, attentive, and protective over her cub and shows all the signs of being the perfect mother."

The cub is yet to be named. Photo: Big Cat Sanctuary
The cub is yet to be named. Photo: Big Cat Sanctuary

Briony Smith, curator at the sanctuary, was delighted by the new arrival.

"We have had a year full of ups and downs at The Big Cat Sanctuary and the birth of our little snow leopard cub is absolutely fabulous news," she said.

"He appears to be developing and growing beautifully and is becoming more active day by day.

"Laila is an experienced mother and is just as attentive and devoted with this little one as she has been before.

"Being able to celebrate two births contributing to two separate breeding programmes in one year, after the birth of Inka the jaguar in April, is something we are overjoyed about and very proud of.”

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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