The Scottish wildcat is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and evocative mammals of the Cairngorms National Park and yet is on the brink of extinction. It’s rarer than the Bengal tiger and the main threats to the future survival of the species are:
introgressive hybridisation with domestic (especially feral) cats;
confusion in identifying wildcats during otherwise legal predator control activities;
fatal diseases spread by domestic cats;
The Cairngorms Wildcat Project in 2013 won the RSPB Nature of Scotland Innovation Award. This helped to raise awareness of the plight of the Scottish wildcat throughout the Cairngorms and work with local people to reduce key threats. The success of this project is now being used as the template for the national action plan to save the species, delivered by Scottish Wildcat Action.
This is the most ambitious conservation plan for the Scottish wildcat to date and the project brings together all the most respected wildcat experts in Scotland, including scientists, conservationists, land managers and vets. Scottish Wildcat Action are actively involved in taking practical action to prevent further decline across the whole of Scotland by:
- working with local people in wildcat priority areas to reduce the risks of hybridisation, disease and accidental persecution;
- breeding healthy wildcats for later release to bolster the population through a conservation breeding programme;
- gathering extensive data and sharing our findings to improve understanding of this elusive predator.
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For help with wildcat identification click here