Latest News - NEWS: National Trust for Scotland finds cats at two sites

NEWS: National Trust for Scotland finds cats at two sites

Originally published by National Trust for Scotland.

Wildcats have been spotted at two National Trust for Scotland sites in Aberdeenshire in recent months.

The charity which conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage has captured video footage of a ‘good hybrid’ exploring the ancient woodlands at Drum Castle from earlier in 2016.

And at Leith Hall, a cat which was first sighted by Scottish Wildcat Action project manager Dr Roo Campbell several years ago, has been captured on camera. The images were taken on a nearby farm, and upon examination Roo confirmed that he had seen this cat several years ago while he was working in the Huntly area.

Roo said:

“I detected this cat on camera when I was doing an earlier project putting GPS collars on cats in 2013 - 2014. She was using Leith Hall and a local farm and was a regular visitor to the trail cameras I had placed there. I managed to get a collar on her and was able to look closely at how she used the area.

“I always hoped to see her again when we began the Scottish Wildcat Action project in the same area. Then we were sent some recent trail camera images from the farm and I realised it was the same cat! This caused me to double check some of the other images collected by Emma Rawling, our project officer in the area over the winter and true enough, it was the very same cat.”

Photo: Drum Castle (2013)

Scottish wildcat

This cat was tested then and was found to have a strong genetic score of 75% – this means that while she has some domestic cat ancestry like most remaining wildcats, she has a relatively high proportion of wildcat ancestry.

Senior nature conservation advisor for the National Trust for Scotland, Richard Luxmoore said:

“It’s great to be able to demonstrate that we have wildcats living on our properties in Aberdeenshire. We tend to associate this elusive beast with the wilder parts of the Highlands but some of our best evidence comes from the more populated agricultural land in the north-east. Some of our most important wildlife sites turn up where we least expect them.”

Photo: Drum Castle (2016)

Hybrid cat Drum Castle

The National Trust for Scotland is currently monitoring dozens of sites across the north of Scotland for signs of wildcat activity. The charity is also one of 20 organisations involved in Scottish Wildcat Action, a partnership project uniting experts from more than 20 key organisations. Its steering group comprises Scottish Natural Heritage; Forestry Commission Scotland; Cairngorms National Park Authority; National Museums Scotland; Royal Zoological Society of Scotland; Scottish Gamekeepers Association; Scottish Wildlife Trust; The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies - Edinburgh University.

Scottish wildcats are one of the UK’s most endangered species.  And the wildcat work is one of the key projects in the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy which aims to support the Scottish Government strategic objectives for a wealthier, fairer, healthier, smarter, greener, safer and stronger country.

- ENDS -

National Trust for Scotland Press Office. Contact Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr on 0131 458 0272/ 07713 786277.

Editor’s Notes:

Videos of the Drum sightings and images of the Leith Hall cat are available for download at:

The National Trust for Scotland is one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, which relies on the financial support of its members and donors to fund its important work of caring for the natural and cultural heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy.

You can join the National Trust for Scotland for as little as £7 per month for a family. To become a member, visit


You can make a difference and help protect everything in our care. Donate online at

National Trust for Scotland

This content was made possible by our Partners & Funders at National Trust for Scotland


Image for Vicky Burns

Vicky is the Communications Coordinator for Scottish Wildcat Action. She has a background in third sector communications and marketing and is based at the Scottish Wildlife Trust office in Edinburgh.

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