Archive for September 13th, 2012

Yet another extinction imminent

Scottish wildcat extinct within months, association says

Scottish wildcats were thought to number about 400

Scottish wildcats will be extinct in the wild within months as numbers of pure-bred cats have fallen to about 35 individuals, conservationists warn.

A team put together by the Scottish Wildcat Association (SWA) reviewed 2,000 records of camera trap sightings, eyewitness reports and also road kills.

SWA said the analysis suggested there could be 35 wildcats – far fewer than previously thought.

Other research has estimated that there could be less than 400 pure-bred cats.

Last month, a report on a project funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) estimated that there were 150 breeding pairs left.

Disease and inter-breeding with domestic and feral cats are among the main threats to numbers of pure-bred wildcats.

SWA said licensed trapping of the mammals should be allowed so blood samples could be taken in an effort to better understand the state of the population.

It has also suggested relocating pure wildcats to areas where there are fewer risks, and it said it was working with the University of Oxford on an investigation of wildcats in Caithness and Sutherland.

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Felis silvestris grampia – Scottish Wildcat

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