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Scottish Wildcat Action response to "pure wildcat" in Aberdeenshire claim from Wildcat Haven

A recent press release from Wildcat Haven is misleading. Scottish Wildcat Action (SWA) has already been working with the local community in its Strathbogie ‘Priority Area’ for over two years. Therefore this latest claim (re the first "pure," wildcat captured on film) is certainly not news to SWA, our team of professional, dedicated and hard-working Project Officers, and the many partner organisations we work with.

In autumn last year SWA detected 27 cats, six of which were identified as wildcat based on their pelage scores. These cats were found in our Strathbogie wildcat priority area in Aberdeenshire. This information was publicly announced in September 2016 and was reported in the media. Since then a further four wildcats have been discovered in the area, taking the total of known wildcats to 10.

In 2013/14 SWA also carried out a scoping survey in Aberdeenshire and identified a wildcat based on its high pelage score (coat markings), which was confirmed by our partners at the National Museum of Scotland. The wildcat shown in this “new,” video is extremely similar to one already identified. And in addition SWA partners from Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit detected wildcats back in 2011.

SWA continues its work to protect one of Scotland’s most endangered species. Its work in Aberdeenshire has already involved the trapping, neutering and release of almost 100 cats, in an area we know to be close to a wildcat population.

In addition to extensive field work SWA feel it’s vital that it has the support of the Scottish wildcat conservation breeding programme and studbook through RZSS. This is another important conservation tool available to SWA and one that may be needed if we are to save the species from extinction.

SWA would like to continue to focus on conservation action work in the Strathbogie area, and land managers, gamekeepers, farmers, volunteers and members of the public have been hugely supportive of the work we are doing to save these majestic creatures and we would like to thank them for their continued support of the project.

SWA already have a full programme of winter work planned to protect Strathbogie’s wildcats, which includes further survey work and more TNVR (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate Return) activity.

 

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