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Leopards settling in at wild animal park


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One of the North Chinese leopards settling in at Howletts Wild Animal Park
One of the North Chinese leopards settling in at Howletts Wild Animal Park

by Adam Williams

Two North China leopards have been settling into their new surroundings at Howletts Wild Animal Park near Bekesbourne.

The male, Saian, aged almost three, comes from Thoiry near Paris and Ting Ting, the female from Karlsruhe near Stuttgart, is almost four.

The pair form part of a worldwide breeding programme and have come to the UK in the hope of continuing a healthy blood line.

The North Chinese leopard has longer fur than other subspecies and a much darker coat. It is medium in size and resembles a jaguar with its distinctive rosette pattern.

They usually mate seasonally during the months of January and February, with an oestrus cycle of approximately 46 days. The female produces a litter of up to two, but mortality is high.

In the wild, they find a cave, crevice, hollow tree or thicket to give birth and make a den.

Cubs are normally born with a grey coat, with less defined markings and longer and thicker fur than adults.

Up until three months the offspring start to go on hunts with their mother and by the age of one a young leopard is able to fend for themselves, although they tend to remain with the mother for up to two years.


* For more news from Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay and Faversham visit kentishgazette.co.uk >>>

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