Latest News - Be proud to be part of #GenerationWildcat - we're their last chance

Be proud to be part of #GenerationWildcat - we're their last chance

Scottish Wildcat Action is today (22 June 2018) launching a new campaign to encourage people to help save the UK’s most endangered carnivore.

#GenerationWildcat calls on the public, including outdoor enthusiasts, farmers and gamekeepers, to join the fight to bring the ‘Highland Tiger’ back from the edge of extinction.

Dr Roo Campbell, SWA Project Manager, said: "The time to save the Scottish wildcat is now. We are almost certainly the last generation who has a realistic chance of saving this iconic species from extinction in Scotland. Wildcats here face three key threats: hybridisation with feral domestic cats, disease and accidental killing.

"Through our #GenerationWildcat campaign we want to reach out to the people who can help tackle these threats by taking action, including reporting sightings of wildcats and un-neutered feral cats."

"We will only regret tomorrow what we don’t do today, so I would encourage as many people as possible to join in this campaign. It is vital that we all work together and become part of the fight to save our Highland Tiger."

He added: "We are already working closely with schools in our priority areas because they are key players in #GenerationWildcat. They represent the group who can carry our work forward into the future, educate the next generation and maintain an environment in which wildcats can continue to thrive."

A sustained marketing campaign, including local events, will be delivered throughout the project’s five Wildcat Priority Areas (Northern Strathspey, Angus Glens, Strathpeffer, Morvern and Strathbogie). The campaign is aimed at a number of different audiences, but has one common goal, to save the Scottish wildcat from extinction.

The farming community is being urged to become part of #GenerationWildcat by reporting un-neutered farm or feral cats to SWA, which may be able to provide assistance with neutering in wildcat priority areas. Farmers are also asked to ensure their cats are healthy to prevent disease spread to Scottish wildcats.

Outdoor enthusiasts are also being encouraged to report any wildcat sightings via the SWA website. Wildcats can look superficially similar to a tabby-marked domestic or feral cat. Information on how to identify a wildcat can be found on the website.

Given the difficulties with identification from a distance, in poor light, or among dense vegetation, gamekeepers are being encouraged to help keep wildcats safe by ensuring their feral cat control activities are wildcat-friendly, e.g. by cage trapping, rather than lamping or snaring. Photographs of suspected wildcats should be submitted to Scottish Wildcat Action project staff and a diary should be maintained of the activity undertaken, including the current location of traps and dates which traps are set or unset.

The Cabinet Secretary said: "There is undoubtedly a great groundswell of support for the Scottish wildcat. The key for us is to turn that support into meaningful and effective action.

"What we need to get across is that now is the time to save Scotland’s wildcat. The actions we take today and that we encourage others to take through the #GenerationWildcat movement will determine the future of this much loved and charismatic species."

She added: "Education, as ever, is vital to the conservation of our Scottish wildcat. We need to encourage buy in from the game keeping and land management sector so that they see the value of carrying out wildcat friendly predator control practices.

"We need to make sure that land managers, estate owners, gamekeepers, farmers and crofters are all aware of the part they can play within the #GenerationWildcat movement."

There’s also a new ‘hands-on’ opportunity for members of the public to be part of #GenerationWildcat.

SWA has produced a detailed downloadable wildcat camera trapping leaflet, which helps people set up their own personal trail cameras, anywhere in Scotland, to establish whether or not there are outposts of wildcats in areas outwith SWA’s Wildcat Priority Areas. Sightings can then be logged on the SWA website.

Our team of dedicated Project Officers and volunteers will also be carrying out more Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return (TNVR) work on feral cats to help protect the Scottish wildcat from the risk of disease and hybridisation. 

To date the project has neutered, vaccinated and returned 200 cats. It’s worth highlighting the conditions under which these animals were dealt with. In nearly all domestic TNR/TNVR operations the work is predominantly targeted around relatively accessible areas, usually associated with houses, farms etc.

Many of the 200 animals we have dealt with were in similar situations (especially farms), however, these numbers also include animals caught in more remote areas and in atrocious weather conditions. The amount of effort needed therefore had to be far higher than in more ‘normal’ situations, which highlights the need to look beyond the simple total, to the challenges of some of our TNVR work in our Priority Areas - further emphasising the effort put into the work to date.

IMPORTANT

  • Help us protect the Scottish wildcat by reporting all sightings via our website www.scottishwildcataction.org or by using the Mammal Tracker app, available on App Store and Google Play
  • Report sightings of feral cats within our five priority areas in order to inform our neutering work to protect Scottish wildcats from hybridization
  • Make sure your domestic cat is neutered, vaccinated and microchipped, especially if you live in one of our five priority areas
  • Farmers are asked to make sure farms cats are healthy to prevent them spreading disease to wildcats. Get in touch and we may be able to help with neutering if your farm is in a wildcat priority area
  • Report all cat sightings to your local project officer Strathbogie@scottishwildcataction.org NorthernStrathspey@scottishwildcataction.org Morvern@scottishwildcataction.org AngusGlens@scottishwildcataction.org and Strathpeffer@scottishwildcataction.org

 

 

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By:

Image for Duncan McKenzie

I'm responsible for the delivery of Scottish Wildcat Action’s Communications plan, PR, marketing and promotion of the project's key messages through our website and social media channels. My role also involves working with the media.

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17 Jul