Scotland, UK
RZSS Saving Wildcats

The wildcat is Scotland’s rarest and most threatened mammal. Once widespread, the species is now on the brink of extinction. A sad history of habitat loss, persecution and crossbreeding with domestic cats has forced the Highland Tiger to a point where the population is no longer viable. Without urgent action, wildcats will be lost forever from Britain.

Wildcats in zoos, wildlife parks and private facilities now hold the key to saving their species, enabling captive-bred cats to be restored to the wild. Led by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Saving Wildcats is a new six-year partnership project, which will deliver the urgent action needed to prevent their extinction.

RZSS can only undertake a project of this scale by working in partnership with other experts, and with the invaluable support from the local community.

Nationally, they’re working with NatureScot, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Forestry and Land Scotland. European expertise is being provided by Norden’s Ark in Sweden and the Iberian Lynx project in Spain and Portugal. The project is funded with the contribution of the LIFE Programme of the European Union and has had additional financial support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, National Trust for Scotland and The European Nature Trust, along with a number of other supporting organisations and generous individuals.

Who's Involved
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Cairngorms National Park Authority
EU Life
Forestry and Land Scotland
Scottish Natural Heritage
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A NatureSpy Supported Project
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Project Strategy
How NatureSpy is Helping
  • Establish Britain’s first large-scale Conservation Breeding for Release Centre for wildcats. Based in a quiet area of the Highland Wildlife Park, within the Cairngorms National Park (CNP), the centre will bring together wildcat experts, a dedicated veterinary unit and a specialised pre-release training programme. Despite delays as a result of COVID-19, construction is now underway. This means we are on track for our first breeding season in 2021.
  • Remove threats facing wildcats in Scotland to create safe areas for wildcat restoration. The first release site will potentially be in an area of the CNP where habitats are suitable and expanding. A focused field programme will remove threats from the target site. We’ll also work closely with local communities and landowners to encourage and support wildcat friendly practices.
  • Grow the Scottish population through release of wildcats into the wild. A specialised pre-release training programme will encourage wildcats to gain the skills needed to thrive in the wild. Saving Wildcats aims to release at least 20 cats each year between 2022 – 2026, which will enable a viable population to be established, potentially in the CNP. 60 of the cats will wear GPS collars so that their movements and behaviour can be monitored.
  • Enable rural communities to benefit from the presence of wildcats. Saving Wildcats is as much about people as it is about the cats. It aims to boost local economies across the project area by supporting new tourism offerings, including a wildcat trail. Once the current project is established, similar wildcat releases will extend to other locations in Scotland, thereby benefiting more communities. In future, the centre could support other well-planned species recovery efforts across Britain, further expanding the projects’ impact.
  • We assist the project team in all areas relating to this specialist monitoring equipment as RZSS work towards a brighter future for Scotland's wildcat.
  • Using our expertise we provide technical support and ongoing maintenance support which are already proving to be an integral part of the baseline surveys around the potential release sites.
  • We have also provided the project with 80 trail cameras to help aid the team in this vital work in conserving one of Britains most important species.
Learn More
Find out more about RZSS Saving Wildcats project.
Visit RZSS Saving Wildcats
Camera Used
The Browning Spec Ops Advantage provides the image quality and reliability thats perfect for the Wildcat project.
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