A new Merida & Brave arrive in Scotland
Friday, 22 Jun 2012
The Highland Wildlife Park in Inverness-shire is delighted to present Merida and Brave, the two month old Scottish wildcat kitten twins.
Set in mythical Scotland, Brave includes many historic and current Scottish native species - so what could be more appropriate than naming an iconic Scottish species after what is all set to be an iconic Scottish film?
The kittens were born on the 8th April and have just been sexed by their keepers, and this brother and sister act is already pretty adventurous, tumbling around with each other and practicing their pouncing.
Merida in particular seems to share more than just a name with the film's main character as she has quite an adventurous and feisty personality. The kittens are certainly keeping proud parents, five year old mum Seasaidh and eight year old dad Hamish, busy.
Scottish wildcats, also known as Highland tigers, are one of Britain's rarest animals with as few as 400 thought to be left in the UK, mainly in the Scottish Highlands. These felines at first glance could be mistaken for a feral domestic cat, although they have several characteristics unique to wildcats. Wildcats have wider heads, distinctive striped coats and blunt bushy tails.
Una Richardson, head keeper at the Highland Wildlife Park, said:
"It is an exciting time for the Highland Wildlife Park, as we welcomed the arrival of our twin Scottish wildcat kittens, meaning we now have six Scottish wildcats in total.
"Twins 'Brave' and 'Merida', have become quite bold and are often seen exploring their enclosure and running along an overhead walkway. We think these little kittens are well suited to their names. As brother and sister they love nothing more than to play with each other, although I would say our male kitten is definitely the bossier twin!
"As there are thought to be less than 400 Scottish wildcats left in the Highlands, these cats are incredibly rare and endangered so this is a huge milestone for this species and the park. Merida and Brave are the latest kittens of successful breeding pair Seasaidh and Hamish, the kittens will play a vital role in the conservation of this historic Scottish species along with increasing visitor awareness of the problems facing this most iconic Scottish animal."
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