New Scottish wildcat sanctuary


This video says about itself:

14 October 2010

Two Scottish wildcat kittens have been filmed by a BBC crew.

The notoriously shy animals were filmed at night in the highlands of Scotland.

One of the kittens had an unusual black coat, suggesting that it could have been an incredibly rare dark or “melanistic” genetic form.

From Wildlife Extra:

Scottish wildcat sanctuary created on west coast

A Scottish wildcat sanctuary has been created on the Ardnamurchan and Sunart peninsula on Scotland’s west coast in a bid to save the endangered species, which experts believe could number as few as 35.

The species is threatened from hybridising with domestic cats and to help alleviate this threat all domestic and feral cats in the area have been neutered during the last five years.

This is thought to be the first time feral cats have been managed in such a large mainland area anywhere in the world.

“Cats of any kind are notoriously difficult to survey,” said the project scientific adviser, Dr Paul O’Donoghue, of the University of Chester.

“However over the last six months we’ve really saturated the area with live traps, cameras, vets and ecologists, and had lots of people from the local community out looking as well.”

“The only feral cats seen have already been neutered, which means the population should collapse naturally within the next couple of years.”

This is thought to be the first time feral cats have been managed in such a large mainland area anywhere in the world.

The wildcats of Ardnamurchan, which could number fewer than 10, will be trapped and DNA tested to check they are pure breds. If they are, they will be left to thrive and monitored. However if DNA proves the population turns out to be made up of hybrids pure wildcats could be brought to Ardnamurchan from areas of Scotland.

Dr O’Donoghue said: “Our goal is to establish populations of genetically-pure wildcats. We are determined not to settle for second best or to settle for a bunch of tabbies that bear a resemblance to wildcats.

Protecting anything less than the pure Scottish wildcat will condemn the species to extinction. The behaviour of feral cats and pure wildcats is very different. Scotland’s ecology needs the true wildcat and, outside of a wildlife park enclosure, this is the only place in the UK where they are safe from hybridisation.”

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3 thoughts on “New Scottish wildcat sanctuary

  1. Pingback: Venezuelan opossums and the origin of species | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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