Rare leopards first for north

Tara and her cubs
Tara and her cubs

The first snow leopards to be born in the north of England are currently investigating their new home near Milnthorpe.

Blinking and yawning their way into the world, the two new arrivals may play a crucial role in the survival of their critically endangered species.

Snow Leopards are extremely rare and now conservationists will determine whether the youngsters at Lakeland Wildlife Oasis should eventually be introduced to the Himalayan region, where they make their natural home.

Jo and Dave Marsden, who run the wildlife charity, are delighted that parents Tara and Pavan, felt comfortable enough in their enclosure to have young.

David said: “We knew she was pregnant, we just held our breath that it all went to plan. Everyone’s really excited, the cubs have their eyes open now.”

Visitors over the summer holiday will be able to see the new cubs out and about. But at the moment they’re sticking close to mum and being given maximum privacy.

Only Jo and head keeper Debs Hollingsworth have so far been able to see the cubs since they were born on May 25. It could be several weeks before it is known whether they are male or female and they can be named.