The six wildcat priority areas were selected for Scottish Wildcat Action’s in situ work mainly based on intense trail camera surveys in candidate areas. Angus Glens had the most good quality wildcats of all of them. So, it is a massive responsibility, as well as an honour, to have Angus Glens as my patch to co-ordinate conservation action in.
As project officer for this area, a critical part of my role is to work positively with land managers in the priority areas - to work around their plans for their land in the next 5 years, and negotiate permission to place cameras to monitor cat populations. Over the years I’ve worked with gamekeepers, farmers, foresters and crofters on various projects and I will be supporting the rest of team in our work with land managers.
I am also busy organising the camera monitoring for this winter – working out the logistics of placing and checking trail cameras in remote areas in the deepest, darkest winter months of January / February. With around 70 cameras going out in Angus between now and Christmas, volunteer support will be essential, as all these cameras need to be checked every 2 weeks and many are off the beaten track. This work is crucial for gathering intelligence on what cats are living in the wild, to help us target feral cat neutering and measures to protect wildcats.
If this sounds like an enticing challenge, I’m looking for reliable volunteers who like the outdoors and those with a keen eye for detail to get involved. I might not be able to guarantee you will see a wildcat, but we do know Angus Glens has the best chance. We are particularly keen to hear from people that live or study in Angus that are interested in helping protect your wildcats.
Photo credit: Forest Enterprise Scotland
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.