Late spring usually sees a lot of births at the Highland Wildlife Park, and the spring of 2012 has been no expection, with four new little ones welcomed to the fold.
"As all of our animals are adapted to dealing with cold winters, late spring is usually when we start to see births from our hoofed mammals as they are generally very seasonal breeders," said Douglas Richardson, animal collections manager.
The four newborns include a European elk calf, a Bukhara deer calf and two more European bison babies. The deer and bison youngsters are particularly welcome as both species are threatened in the wild.
First time European elk mom Froja is proving to be a perfect parent. Historically these impressive animals could be found in the Scottish Highlands, and this latest arrival is the fourth elk calf born at the park since they started breeding the species in 2009. It will be a little while longer before keepers will be able to tell the sex of calf, who was born on May 15, as it is keeping close to its protective new parent.
"The husbandry of European elk presents a number of difficulties, but the fact that first-time mum Froja, who was also born at the Park, is proving to be an attentive parent indicates to us that we are caring for this demanding species in an appropriate way," Richardson said in a statement.
More experienced at the parenting game, the Bukhara deer welcomed another calf to the herd. This little youngster, who is mom Mariam's third calf, was born on May 26 and is a female who has yet to be named.
Following the birth of the park's first European bison calf, Glen Garry, on May 1, a further two were born on May 26 and 31. These three calves are the first offspring of Irish-born bull, Tomek, who arrived at the park in July 2011