After years of extensive preparations by the Saving Wildcats conservation partnership project, the release of 22 wildcats into the Cairngorms National Park began last week as part of landmark efforts to save this charismatic species from extinction within Scotland.
Led by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), the Saving Wildcats partnership has released the cats into undisclosed locations within the Cairngorms Connect landscape of the Cairngorms National Park where they will be carefully monitored using GPS-radio collars.
Approved under licence by NatureScot, the trial releases are the first-ever conservation translocation of wildcats in Britain in an effort to help restore Scotland's critically endangered wildcat population. Approximately sixty wildcats will be released over the next three years.
The project, which has undertaken widespread engagement with local communities, has drawn on global conservation and scientific expertise to further understanding of wildcat ecology and behaviour.
David Field, Chair of the Saving Wildcats Project Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “We are delighted that the Saving Wildcats partnership has taken this historic step towards securing a future for the species in Scotland. The time is now to give the ‘Highland Tiger’ the best chance of survival and I am thankful for the work of our team members, partners and supporters in making this happen. I am also particularly grateful for the support of our local community in the Cairngorms as, without their engagement, we would not have reached this exciting milestone.”
Posted On: 15/06/2023