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Wildcats saved from the brink of extinction

Mike Dilger reveals an ambitious project to save the Scottish Wildcat on The One Show, 22/4/15.

Reproduced under licence from – © 2015 BBC

Dr Paul O’Donoghue, Chief Scientific Officer at Wildcat Haven explains how we can save the Scottish wildcat

Media Coverage: The Times. “Scottish wildcats ‘could flourish’ south of border”
Talk about reintroducing the wildcat to England is an unwelcome distraction.

Media Coverage: Government Europa. “Critically endangered Scottish wildcats’ habitat to become wind farm”
Conservation groups have criticised the Scottish government over a plan to turn a publicly-owned forest, which is a habitat for critically endangered Scottish wildcats, into a wind farm.

Media Coverage: Yahoo News. “World’s rarest cat species given new hope as two tiny wildcat kittens found in Scotland”
A pair of wildcat kittens have been rescued after they were found alone in the Scottish Highlands.

Media Coverage: Independent. “World’s rarest kittens rescued in the Scottish Highlands”
Discovery of orphaned felines boosts struggling population by six per cent, to 37 animals

Media Coverage: Sunday Express. “Petition gathering pace to save home of Scots wildcat”
CLOSE to 170,000 people have signed a petition calling for a halt to logging in a publicly-owned forest which is the last stronghold of the Scottish Wildcat.

Media Coverage: BBC News. “Enormous wildcat’ found in Aberdeenshire forest”
One of the largest wildcats ever recorded in the world is said to have been discovered by field workers in Aberdeenshire’s Clashindarroch Forest.

Media Coverage: Scotsman. “Enormous’ wildcat caught on camera in Aberdeenshire forest”
A giant Scottish wildcat has been recorded in an Aberdeenshire forest

Media Coverage: BT News. “Scottish wildcat nicknamed ‘The Beast’ caught on camera”
Researchers in the Scottish Highlands say it is the biggest they have ever seen.

Media Coverage: The Courier. “Everything you need to know about the Scottish wildcat”
A conservation charity dedicated to saving Scotland’s endangered wildcat from extinction has announced plans for a new “safe haven” for the species in the far north.

Media Coverage: Wildcat Conservation “Wildcat Haven reports on Scottish wildcat conservation efforts”
Wildcat Haven a conservation group organized to save the Scottish wildcat – one of the most endangered animals in the world – is celebrating the success of its most productive season ever.

Media Coverage: Press and Journal. “Highland project to save the Scottish wildcat hailed a success”
Wildcat Haven was delighted to discover that no new feral or domestic cats had been reported at any of its west Lochaber monitoring sites over the past four months.

Media Coverage: Mother Nature Network. “Can Scotland’s feisty wildcats be brought back from the brink?”
This fierce native cat may disappear within the next few years.

Media Coverage: Ecologist. “Scotland’s secret cat slaughter revealed in FOI documents”
Documents released to Wildcat Haven reveal the secret plans of the Scottish Wildcat Action Plan – funded by taxpayers and the National Lottery – to kill trapped feral cats by shooting them in the head with shotguns.

Media Coverage: BBC News. “West Highland wildcat haven extended to cover 800 sq miles”
Hundreds of square miles have been added to a Scottish wildcat “safe haven” in the west Highlands.

Media Coverage: STV News. “Neutering programme makes 800 square miles safe for wildcats”
More than 800 square miles in the Highlands are now safe for wildcats, a conservation project has said.

Media Coverage: Press and Journal. “800 square miles of Scottish Highlands now dedicated to saving the wildcat”
A project to save the Scottish wildcat – one of the most endangered animals on the planet – now covers more than 800 square miles of its west Highland stronghold.

Media Coverage: Press and Journal. “Project to save Scottish Wildcat could aid its extinction, says conservation group”
Wildcat Haven has warned a council-backed action plan to save the species would take the animals away from their natural environments in the great outdoors – and ultimately contribute to their end.

Media Coverage: Press and Journal. “Council urged to back project to preserve wildcats”
Aberdeenshire Council has been urged to get behind plans to protect Scotland’s most iconic species before it vanishes from the country forever.


Press and Journal, November 2015

Press and Journal, November 2015

Media Coverage: Press and Journal. “Scottish wildcat project praised by Humane Society International”
Wildcat Haven has pioneered the use of TNR in a conservation context, neutering feral populations across almost 500 square miles of remote wildcat habitat.

Media Coverage: The National. “Scheme to save wildcats wins praise from world body”
Humane Society International has praised Wildcat Haven for its innovative use of “trap-neuterreturn”

Media Coverage: Daily Express. “Endangered wildcats at risk of evolving to harmless moggies as gene pool reduces”
THE last of Scotland’s wildcats are being saved from turning into humble moggies so they do not become extinct within a few generations.

Media Coverage: Humane Society International. “Animal Charity and Conservationists Unite to Save the Scottish Wildcat from Extinction”
A unique conservation project in Scotland to save one of the world’s rarest animals from extinction has been given a major boost with support from animal welfare charity, Humane Society International.

Media Coverage: Pan European Networks. “The fight for the Scottish wildcat”
Time is running out for one of Europe’s rarest mammals.

Media Coverage: Press and Journal. “Crowdfunding drive to save Scottish wildcats”
A fundraising drive has been launched to develop a network of reserves to protect one of the country’s most endangered species.

Media Coverage: BBC Newsround. “Plan to save the Scottish wildcat”
This is of the world’s rarest animals – the Scottish wildcat. It’s been captured by a hidden camera in the Western Highlands.

Media Coverage: Lochaber News “Weaving a way to help endangered Scottish wildcat”
A NEW tartan – inspired by the colours of the endangered Scottish wildcat – has been launched to help raise awareness of its plight and funds for Wildcat Haven.

Media Coverage: BBC “Neutering clinics for pets to aid Scottish wildcats”
More on our free pet cat neutering clinics.

Media Coverage: Lochaber News “Clinics to offer free neutering to save Scottish wildcats”
News on free pet cat neutering and healthcare we’ve offered to residents across Lochaber via a temporary vet clinic set up in the Moidart area.

Media Coverage: BBC “Scottish wildcat safe haven expanding into Morvern”
More news on plans to expand the Haven into the Morvern peninsula.

Media Coverage: Scotsman “Scottish wildcat sanctuary to double in size”
More on our Morvern expansion.

Media Coverage: Lochaber News “Lochaber haven for rare Scottish wildcat to double in size”
A nice local news piece outlining our plans to expand the Wildcat Haven region into Morvern, and detailing some of the incredible support we’ve been getting from the local community.

2013/2014 Fieldwork Results

Our winter fieldwork season wrapped up having confirmed that all pet cats in the Haven are now neutered, inoculated, microchipped and health checked, and more importantly, it appears that all of the feral cats have also been neutered. The only ferals trapped this year are ones we already know, our cameras and field teams spotted no new kittens and had the same feedback from local welfare charities, feral feeders, crofters, farmers and gamekeepers. We are still monitoring to be certain, but this will mean that Wildcat Haven is now hybridisation free and feline disease free, with a highly supportive local human population and a multitude of projects looking at reforesting.

Many thought it was impossible to clear feral cats from such a large region, especially utilising a humane, neutering based approach, but it appears to have been done successfully and at a low cost by a team working just six months of the year through winter. With the hypothesis becoming reality, over the next five years we plan to establish a full-time team of rangers in the Haven and expand to over 800 square miles: it’s time to bring the pure Scottish wildcat back!

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