Pallas' cats born at wildlife park for the first time

A litter of Pallas's cat kittens have been born at a wildlife park in Oxfordshire for the first time.

The Cotswold Wildlife Park's breeding pair, Tull and Penelope, welcomed the kittens, who are the first cats to be born since the species arrived at the park in 2010.

Pallas’s Cats are unlike most felines as their pupils contract into small circles rather than vertical slits.

The kittens have now left their nest box and visitors can see the youngsters exploring their exhibit opposite the Grey Owls enclosure.

Eight-year-old Tull and six-year-old Penelope were introduced to each other in 2018.

Tull arrived from Highland Safari Park in 2015 and Penelope joined him in 2018 from a zoological collection in Italy.

Both are part of the European Breeding Programme (EEP) and keepers hoped this shy species would one day produce a litter of their own.

The park says these new additions are encouraging news for the species.

Jamie Craig, Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, said: "We are delighted that our pair of Pallas's Cats have produced their first litter together.

"Every birth of this species is an achievement and keepers are very proud watching them grow.

The Park is home to more than 1,500 animals from 250 different species and the Pallas's Cats are arguable one of the most elusive animals in the collection.