Wildcat Appeal

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Scottish Wildcat istockphotoWhat’s the problem?

Wildcats are our only native cat but there are now only a handful left in the countryside, all in the Scottish Highlands. After centuries of being hunted and losing their forest habitat, the biggest threat to the species is now interbreeding. Wildcats are genetically distinct from domestic pet cats, but they frequently mate with feral and pet cats, who now massively outnumber them. This means more and more hybrids are born, and the wildcat, which is a separate species with its own distinct behaviour and physiology, is vanishing.

 

What can be done?

Wildcat 500 x 500 By Alan TunnicliffeReintroducing more wildcats into the countryside is the only chance for their survival. But those being bred and released must be true wildcats, not hybrids. Thanks to previous support from PTES donors, we’re now able to distinguish wildcat DNA from domestic cat DNA, which means we’ll be able to help identify the best individual wildcats to use in captive breeding programmes. We’ll also be able to understand the history of hybridisation, allowing us to reduce further interbreeding.

We can’t sit by while our only wild feline disappears from Britain. They’re an important part of our ecosystem and are distinctly different from domestic cats in their genetic makeup and behaviour. With so few left, this is a critical moment in the race to save them.

 

 

Donate today and help save our wildcats from extinction in the wild!

 

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