Scottish wildcats becoming extinct?

This video is called Scottish wildcat project Highland Tiger introduction.

From Wildlife Extra:

Scottish wildcat faces extinction within months

Days before Scottish Natural Heritage begin formulating their action plan for the Scottish wildcat, conservationists warn that numbers may have slumped to 35 individuals and that significant policy change is essential.

September 2012. Critical analysis of efforts to identify Scottish wildcat populations over the last five years has concluded that the population numbers just 35 individuals.

2000 records assessed

A team put together by the Scottish Wildcat Association has appraised over 2000 records including camera trap sightings, eye witness reports and roadkills collected independently by organisations such as the SWA, Cairngorms Wildcat Project and Oxford University.

Threatened by hybridisation

Wildcats are threatened primarily with hybridisation; cross-mating with feral domestic cats. The “hybrid” offspring in turn mate with more wildcats, ferals and hybrids creating a confusing spectrum of cats that look similar to wildcats, but behave very differently putting pressure on prey species and raising conflicts with rural businesses.

1% of cats are true wildcats

Of the 2000 records of hybrids and wildcats less than 20 comply with the accepted coat-marking identifiers of the true wildcat, with an estimated 3500 hybrids in Scotland this would mean there were just 35 wildcats remaining.

“However you juggle the figures it’s hard to find anything positive,” comments SWA chairman Steve Piper, “if you ignore the eye witness sightings because they’re unreliable the numbers get even worse, if you hypothesise that wildcats avoid roads they only pick up a little, even if you decide the population of hybrids is larger you have to multiply it to impossible levels to get to the commonly quoted figure of 400 wildcats. The overwhelming evidence is that the wildcat is going to be extinct within months, anything else is blind hope.”

Immediate actions planned to conserve Scottish wildcat: here.

New effort to save Scottish wildcats: here.

14 thoughts on “Scottish wildcats becoming extinct?

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  5. A threat to Scottish wildcats

    A new action plan to reverse the decline of the Scottish wildcat within six years has been launched by Scottish Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse.
    The aim is to conserve Scottish wildcats by reducing the chances of cross breeding with domestic and feral cats and by lowering the risk to wildcats from feline diseases.

    The scale of coordinating trapping, neutering and vaccination of feral cats and hybrids has not previously been attempted on such a scale in Scotland.

    Why not euthanize the feral cats?

    Wildlife Extra questions why they are going to elaborate lengths of trapping, neutering and vaccinating these feral cats before returning them to the wild? Returning them to the wild where they still pose a threat to other native wildlife and will compete with wildcats for limited resources sounds perverse. WE can only imagine that they are running scared of the cat protection lobby?


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