Friday, 28 September 2012

Immediate actions planned to conserve Scottish wildcat

Recent research showed that Scottish wildcat faces extinction within months
September 2012. A range of national actions to save the Scottish wildcat look set to be agreed over the next six months. The move follows the first-ever meeting of a diverse group of land management, research and conservation organisations (see below).
The main threat to wildcats is hybridisation with feral domestic cats which raises many challenges in correctly identifying wildcats from often fleeting sightings. The first action agreed by the group was an immediate targeted survey to identify the best surviving populations of wildcats. Survey work will be coordinated with the intention of identifying key regions to focus research and conservation actions within.
Other possibilities discussed included innovative approaches such as captive breeding and translocation of cats in the wild. However, the current emphasis is to obtain more up to date information on wildcat numbers and distribution which in turn will be used to prioritise action on the ground.
The group aims to have a comprehensive action plan underway by next spring forming a Scotland-wide approach to wildcat conservation overseen by SNH.

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