Saving the Wildcats: Will Feral Cats Reclaim Scotland? (Video)

 Saving the Wildcats: Will Feral Cats Reclaim Scotland?  (Video)

A European project to keep Scottish feral cats in captivity and then release them into the wild is underway

[15 Febbraio 2022]

On 14 February, the symbolic and benevolent anniversary of Valentine’s Day, the first season of captive mating of 16 Scottish feral cats began (Felis Silvestris Silvestris) at the Saving Wildcats Breeding and Conservation Center to give birth to specimens of these rare species, which when grown, will be released into the wild at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park.

The initiative is part of the Saving Wildcats (#SWAforLIFE) initiative led by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland in collaboration with Naturescot, Forestry and Land Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Norden’s Arch and the Consejoria de Medio Ambiente y Ordención del Territorio de is a European project. Junta de Andalusia. It is a 6-year project that has received £3.2 million in EU funding and is supported by NatureScot, the Scottish Autonomous Government’s Nature Agency, the Scottish Government’s Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Fund and a wide variety of other working partners. is co-funded. Together to restore Scotland’s critically endangered wild cat population. This season’s kittens, which may be born in spring, will be among the first to be released into the wild in 2023.

David Barclay, conservation manager for Saving Wildcats, said, “In time for Valentine’s Day, it is great to prepare for our first breeding season at the center. Many cats have now mate and settle and we already have some really Seeing encouraging mating behavior. Our experienced breeders do an amazing job of preparing our enclosures and introducing cats to them, giving them the best chance for breeding success. Feral cats are Scotland’s most iconic animals, but at the same time One of the most endangered animals. The days of the feral cat in Scotland are numbered as there is no future birth.’

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Feral cats were once widespread in Scotland, but the loss of habitat, hunting and crossing wild domestic cats brought them to the brink of extinction, so many believed they were now extinct. and the specimens that were observed were in fact hybrids with domestic ones. cat’s. Then, in 212, biologists discovered a previously unknown population of Scottish wild cats in the Cairngorm National Park. According to an initial estimate, 465 possible Scottish feral cats were sighted, but the Scottish Wildcat Association had realistically put this figure as much lower: below 100 specimens, and the species, while still present, was on the verge of extinction. are close.

Now Barkley says: “We hope that kittens born between April and May are among the first to be released in carefully selected locations in Cairngorms. The Saving Wildcats Partnership Project is the last hope for this species in Scotland .

Saving Wildcats launched its first sponsorship program in January. Starting from £5 a month, you can help the association care for feral cats at the center and prepare their kittens to be released into the wilds of Scotland.

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