A large litter of European grey wolves were recently born at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie, Inverness-shire, Scotland.
Mother Elara and dad Puika, the resident European grey wolves, are the proud new parent to the five pups, who were born on May 25. Now six weeks old, the playful bundles of fur are still shy, but are starting to venture out into their large enclosure, called Wolf Wood.
"The pups, especially one particularly bold individual, are now beginning to wander around the large wooded enclosure, which does seem to cause their mother some anxiety," said Douglas Richardson, animal collection manager at the park.
It will be some time before it is known whether the pups are male or female, but two of the wolf pups have been named Ruby or Reuben and one Forty as just last week they celebrated their milestone 40th anniversary of the park's creation. Various competitions will take place to name the other three little wolf pups.
First opening its doors to the public in the summer of 1972, the park was set up to establish a collection of Scottish wildlife, past and present. Although more recently the Park has broadened its mandate to include cold weather adapted species from around the world.
"The wolf has been an iconic species for the park virtually since its opening in 1972, and it is doubly satisfying that after a 12-year gap we have had this breeding success during our anniversary year. We have made a number of changes to how we manage the species over recent years and it is personally very rewarding to watch this litter being reared," Richardson said.
"The park is visited by quite a number of people with a special interest in wolves and it is hoped that this latest breeding success will generate further interest in this much maligned species, especially as it is an animal that formally roamed over most of the country," he added.