The Highland Wildlife Park is a 105-hectare (260-acre) safari park and zoo near Kingussie, Highland, Scotland. The park is located within the Cairngorms National Park. The park is run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
The Highland Wildlife Park was opened in 1972 and has been run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (which also operates the Edinburgh Zoo) since 1986. With the exception of Christmas Day, the park is open every day of the year, weather permitting.
In 1980 the park was made famous by obtaining “Felicity the Puma”, a puma that was reputedly captured nearby by a farmer. The puma lived out her days in the park and is now on show stuffed in the Inverness Museum. In the past the park has also been the home to several examples of the famous “Kellas cat”.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, owner and administrator of the Highland Wildlife Park, altered the theme of the park in 2007 from native species of the Highlands, to species from tundra and mountainous habitats around the world. This move is an attempt to bring the park closer to the working practices of the RZSS’s main site, Edinburgh Zoo as well as to increase visitor numbers which had been virtually static for some years.
Although the park was in need of serious investment for some years, many locals to the area as well as frequent visitors believe that this move would distance the park from its hitherto unique attraction as a place to see native species in their natural habitat, and will eventually turn the park into another safari park filled with ever more exotic animals in an attempt to attract more of the area’s visitors.