Six priority areas for Scottish wildcat conservation have been identified following research commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
Wildcats are becoming an endangered species due to mixing with domestic cats, disease and loss of habitat. The Angus Glens, Strathbogie in Aberdeenshire, Strathavon in Moray and Morvern, Strathpeffer and Dulnain in the Highlands are the six areas. The research suggested these were where wildcats had the best chance. Work to conserve wildcats in the six selected sites is to start next year.
Scientists used live trapping, cameras and analysed cat faeces, hair and skin to determine the presence of wildcats, and wild-living cats. Between one and eight wildcats were recorded at the sites, representing between 25% and 75% of all cats recorded in the six areas.
Jenny Bryce, SNH's wildlife ecologist, said: "These priority areas give us real opportunity to halt the decline of the Scottish wildcat and preserve its distinctive identity." Read full article