The landmark birth of a pair of Amur leopard cubs and a trio of tiger cubs at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park within the last year has been a significant boost to the reserve’s efforts to save two of the world’s most critically endangered species from extinction. The numbers of both species have fallen perilously low and the park’s breeding triumphs are seen as critical moments in the international programme to preserve these majestic cats.
Meanwhile, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation has been working to raise awareness and funds for both of the Amurs, as well as African hunting dogs, polar bears and other animals. “The Amur tigers and leopards are under enormous threat from disappearing habitats and poaching, and we have to act now to save them as there are only 70 leopards left in the wild,” said Cheryl Williams.
“Every day that they thrive brings us closer to saving these magnificent cats from extinction.” The birth of the tigers was captured on video and drew a global audience of over five million. Visitors to YWP near Doncaster have played a crucial part in the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA)’s conservation project to save the two species, as it is one of the charities supported by the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation. The leopard cubs and their parents could be critical in an international plan by the Amur Leopard and Tiger Association (ALTA) to reintroduce them back into their native habitat in a remote region of the far east corner of Russia. Ms Williams said: “No decision has been made on which leopards could be reintroduced, but with the births we have made progress. There is, however, so much more to be done.”