“Most of us yearn to catch a glimpse of the glorious Scottish wildcat, yet never do. If we don’t act immediately, we never will. The wildcat is teetering on the edge.”
Wildcats in Scotland have been persecuted for centuries and they are now at serious risk of extinction. The dwindling population is confined to the Scottish Highlands and it is doubtful that wildcat numbers in the wild now reach three figures.
Pressure from persecution, habitat fragmentation, and interbreeding with domestic and feral cats, mean that the wildcat’s survival now hangs tenuously by a thread.
However, there is an opportunity to turn this story around – with a dramatic plan to create a National Wildlife Reintroductions Centre in the Cairngorms National Park.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) are leading the charge on a state-of-the-art breeding facility which will bring together wildcat experts, a dedicated veterinary unit, and a specialised pre-release training programme.
– ARTIST’S IMPRESSION OF THE PROPOSED BREEDING CENTRE © RZSS
The European Nature Trust and Alladale Wilderness Reserve have been active participants in the recovery of the critically endangered Scottish wildcat since 2011, when a wildcat enclosure was built on the reserve as part of a captive breeding project in partnership with RZSS.
The enclosure housed two males and two females, until July 2018 when two kittens were born!
– WILDCAT KITTEN BORN AT ALLADALE WILDERNESS RESERVE © INNES MACNEILL
The wildcats at Alladale are being bred with the ultimate aim of release, and it is likely the kittens will become part of the national breeding programme once the project has been fully funded and is underway.
Whilst building this state-of-the-art facility will cost a lot, there is little hope for the future of wildcats without it. The European Nature Trust, alongside a number of funding partners and donors, are contributing to this crucial RZSS project – and we are not too far from our funding goal!
If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here. If you would like to help in another way, please watch and share the fantastic film below by Scotland: The Big Picture!