Wildcat appeal

Help save wildcats

The history of wildcats in Britain stretches back over nine thousand years, but today they’re perilously close to extinction.

Due to centuries of persecution and habitat loss, wildcats disappeared from England and Wales before 1900. At that point, this Highland tiger was only found in the farthest reaches of north and west Scotland. The remaining small, fragmented populations then began to face an additional threat: domestic and feral cats. Hybridisation, or interbreeding, with the non-wild cats pushed wildcats in Britain to the brink of genetic extinction.

There are only a handful of wildcats remaining in the wild, and they’re more threatened than ever: they’re truly clinging on by a claw. But thanks to dedicated conservation scientists, there’s hope. If we act now, these fierce and beautiful predators will not only have a history, but a future as well.

Wildcats are genetically distinct from their domestic cousins, distinguished by their solid black and brown stripes, and thick, banded tail.

Small cat in woods (Credit RZSS)

Why should we save wildcats?

Wildcats are one of Britain’s last remaining predators, and a vital link in the food chain. When we lose a predator, the entire ecosystem can be thrown out of balance, affecting both plant and animal life. Losing one species has repercussions: more will always follow in its wake.

This is why PTES believes it’s so important to save wildcats from extinction, which is why we’re supporting Saving Wildcats.

Image credit RZSS

How do we plan to help?

There is no longer a viable population in the wild, so the only way to save these magnificent creatures is to breed them in captivity and release them into their rightful home to restore the population. With our support, Saving Wildcats are in the second year of their ambitious six-year breeding and release project to ensure the future of this species in Scotland.

Saving Wildcats is in the process of welcoming sixteen cats into a quiet and peaceful woodland environment at their conservation centre in the Cairngorms, with plenty of space for them to run, play, and practice their hunting skills. Last year, generous donations from our supporters helped fund construction of the breeding enclosures and a thorough survey of the release site using camera traps. Now, the team is hard at work putting the finishing touches on the pre-release enclosures and getting ready to welcome the first litter of kittens to the centre. These kittens will hopefully be released into the wild in 2023.

Donate today to be part of the first wildcat reintroduction in Britain’s history and to help save wildcats from extinction.

Not ready to donate just yet? You can still stay up to date on all things wildlife by signing up to our e-newsletter.

Header image credit RZSS.

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