Spring is in the air as we emerge from another very active winter of wildcat conservation. This winter has not been without its challenges and I expect every winter season will present its own unique mix of these. But we’ve achieved a great deal, especially with the neutering and vaccinating of feral cats and obvious hybrids while our survey work added to our burgeoning knowledge of the wildcat populations in our priority areas. As always, we couldn’t have done any of this without our amazingly diligent and enthusiastic volunteers, so a big THANK YOU to each and every one of you. We’ve also held a Sharing Good Practice event to discuss wildcat conservation, land management and dealing with human development. It was completely booked out but we hope to organise similar opportunities in the future. And, we launched our #supercat pet cat neutering campaign, with what I believe, in my unbiased opinion, to be the coolest Marvel-beating tail-twitching caped-crusader out there.
A clowder of cats during TNVR last winter
We have just passed two years of activity and in that time have started many of the fundamental conservation activities we plan on carrying out during the project. Much of what comes in the future will be the refinement and polishing of something we are already doing – though there will be new activities to launch too.
We are also losing two of our fantastic staff members: Both Hebe (land management project officer, responsible for the Angus Glens and Northern Strathspey areas) and Vicky (communications coordinator) felt this was a good time in the project to relinquish their respective reins to a fresh pair of hands and both have moved on to great new opportunities. Hebe and Vicky have worked amazingly hard to help build Scottish Wildcat Action from the ground up and we wish them well for the future.
We are now looking for similarly enthusiastic and inspiring people to replace them. Dispersed as we are all across Scotland, distances can be challenging and we are always looking at ways to deliver project activity in each area most efficiently. This is why alongside the Angus Glens and Northern Strathspey we have also included Morvern as a possible location for the new land management project officer, a site where Keri has already done such an amazing job. The adverts go up today and I’d encourage anyone with the relevant experience and who’s up for a challenge to apply. Closing date for applications is Thur11th May (Communications Coordinator) and Sun 14th May (Land Management Project Officer). See SNH jobs for more info.
An SRUC student helping build a den in the Angus Glens last winter
In the meantime, we’ll be spending the summer reviewing how we’ve done over the past couple of years and looking at ways to improve the delivery of the project to better conserve our Scottish wildcat. It’s a very difficult challenge but the ultimate reward will be great. As always, we will be sharing the results of such reviews and the data on our activities with you, so keep an eye on the latest news and the resources sections of our website. We and some of our intrepid volunteers will also be out and about at some of the local events, galas and game fairs over the summer, so look out for us (we are often to be found standing next to one of our antique stuffed wildcats).