Saving Wildcats (#SWAforLife) is a European partnership project dedicated to Scottish wildcat conservation and recovery, aiming to prevent the extinction of wildcats in Scotland by breeding and releasing them into the wild. The project has already established Britain’s first large-scale dedicated conservation breeding for release centre for wildcats in a quiet location at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park in the Cairngorms National Park.
There, our team of experts is caring for several wildcats whose offspring will be released following a pre-release training programme to prepare for life in the wild. It is hoped 20 wildcats will be released each year from 2023, potentially in an area within the Cairngorms National Park. All released wildcats will wear a special (GPS) collar so their movements and behaviour can be recorded.
One of the first tasks for the Saving Wildcats field team has been to assess the ecological and biological suitability of potential release sites. We need to do these assessments before releasing any wildcats, as we need to know where the best habitats for them are. Camera traps are vital for this work, meaning our relationship with NatureSpy is one of huge value. Not only do they supply the Saving Wildcats project with cameras, but we can use their incredible knowledge and expertise to inform where and how we deploy the cameras.