Conservation efforts for the critically endangered Scottish wildcat have had another boost as Alladale Wilderness Reserve welcomes the arrival of two kittens.
These kittens, who are part of the captive breeding programme and whose parents were given the go-ahead for breeding following genetic testing by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), have the potential to play a key role in the long-term conservation of this near-extinct native species.
Working together with RZSS, Scottish Wildcat Action and other wildlife conservation organisations across Scotland, Alladale Wilderness Reserve and The European Nature Trust (TENT) are supporting the development of effective, long term plans focused on wildcat recovery through reintroductions. This work follows other successful models of endangered cat conservation, like that of the Iberian lynx in Spain and Portugal whose population has been saved in recent years following numerous reintroductions.
Following a recent visit to Alladale Wilderness Reserve, David Barclay, RZSS cat conservation project officer said:
“Like many things in conservation, it can take time for hard work to be rewarded and this is certainly the case here. Alladale Wilderness Reserve and The European Nature Trust have been a great support to wildcat conservation efforts and it is fantastic that they can now play a key role in a vital conservation breeding programme.”
“With the species so close to extinction and no evidence of viable populations in the wild, it seems that recovery options must include reintroduction if we are to save the wildcat in Scotland. These kittens will allow new breeding pairs to be established for population growth, ensuring more Scottish wildcats are available for reintroduction plans.”
– One of the new arrivals at Alladale Wilderness Reserve © Innes MacNeill
With time running out for Scottish wildcats it is clear that wildcat reintroductions could provide the last real chance of saving this iconic species.
If you are interested in hearing more about the plans for saving the Scottish wildcat, please do get in touch.