You may have seen recently in the news that Angus Glens is producing photos of some very interesting looking cats from the trail camera survey we are conducting. There are 57 cameras running in the Angus Glens across some of the best habitat for wildcats in the priority area.
There are 18 volunteers that have “adopted” these cameras in the Glens which will run for 60 days. Most volunteers were setting up over the Christmas / New Year period. We had anticipated challenges of trudging through snow drifts with dreams of accessing some of the site by cross country skis on crisp blue sky days. What actually faced most volunteers was numerous closed roads due to landslips, buckled tarmac from being underwater, washed out bridges, having to move house because a water feature had appeared indoors, and huge quantities of water absolutely everywhere, including where no one can remember there ever having been flood water.
Despite all these challenges, the vast majority of cameras were operating before the end of the first week of January, so I would like to thank all the volunteers for their commitment so far. It’s great to see their efforts being rewarded with lots of cat photos and the analysis is just starting, but we hope to have a report in the spring telling us what cats are where so we can fine-tune our plans to address the inter-breeding and disease issues with a targeted Trap Neuter Vaccinate Release programme. We’ll keep you posted on developments!
With thanks to B Cooper for the photos.
Background: Six wildcat priority areas were identified in 2013 for Scottish Wildcat Action to target an intense programme of work on the ground to make these areas safer for Scottish wildcats. The first stage is to find out what cats are out there with a winter wildcat survey. In total, over 300 trail cameras are currently active across the priority areas of the Scottish Highlands in an attempt to identify feral cats, hybrids and wildcats. This information will help the team to target their next programme of work: an extensive Trap Neuter Vaccinate and Release effort. This involves humanely cage-trapping wild-living cats and neutering/vaccinating those that are feral or unowned before releasing them back into the wild. Any wildcats that are caught will be immediately released so they can interbreed with their own kind and at less at risk from feline diseases.
Scottish Wildcat Action is the first national project to save the highly endangered Scottish wildcat from extinction. It is a partnership involving over 20 organisations, including, Scottish Natural Heritage, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), Cairngorms National Park Authority, Forestry Commission Scotland, National Museums Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. It is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Government, as well as its partners.
See www.scottishwildcataction.org for more information.