A WOLVERINE at the Cotswold Wildlife Park near Burford has given birth to the first cubs of the species ever to be born in the UK.

The three cubs produced by Sharapova and her mate Sarka at the end of January, join just 80 thought to exist in captivity around the world.

After spending nine weeks in their den, the rare cubs are now being shown to visitors for the first time. They have been given Finnish names – Ensin (which means first), Nalka (hungry) and Niemi (after their curator’s daughter) – because the animals feature heavily in the Nordic country’s myths and legends.

Park curator Jamie Craig said: “We are delighted to be the first UK collection to breed this species. The cubs will eventually move on to become important breeding animals in other European zoos.”

Wolverines, which are an endangered species, live in forests and tundra in northern Europe, Asia and North America.

They possess one of the most powerful bites of any mammal and are known for their rapacious appetites. Their Latin name, gulo, means glutton.