Latest News - Local councillors step up as Scottish wildcat champions

Local councillors step up as Scottish wildcat champions

Aberdeenshire councillors Robbie Withey and Gwyneth Petrie, who both represent Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford, have volunteered as Scottish wildcat champions to support the work being done by Scottish Wildcat Action.

Both councillors Withey and Petrie spent a day out with our Strathbogie Project Officer, Emma Rawling, to find out more about the work being done to save the highly-endangered species in the local area.

Strathbogie is one of the priority areas which Scottish Wildcat Action have chosen to work in, to try to restore a viable population of this native animal throughout Scotland.

Councillor Withey said: "Scottish Wildcat Action are doing incredible work in the area, made possible by an amazing and dedicated group of volunteers.  The Scottish Wildcat is native only to Scotland and should be considered a national treasure, the more people willing to help save the species the better.

"This area is Wildcat Country and perhaps one day, once existing numbers are stable we can progress towards growing the number of cats in the area.  Not only would that be a good thing for the animals but it could also bring many great benefits to the area."

Councillor Petrie added: "Numbers of these beautiful animals are dropping quickly and there’s a real risk that they could become extinct without the great work being carried out by Scottish Wildcat Action.

"In comparison with other species, the biggest threat to our wildcats is hybridisation, and the most important message to the public is that if you have domestic cats and live near to the priority area, then please neuter them."

Our Project Officer Emma Rawling said: "We are so grateful to our Aberdeenshire Council Wildcat champions for their help in spreading the word in our local communities about our Scottish Wildcats. We hope everyone in the area gets behind the work to protect them and help save this iconic Scottish Species."

Twenty-one local councillors have stepped up and volunteered to champion a range of biodiversity species, habitats and topics considered to be facing particular challenges in Aberdeenshire.

Following the success of a Biodiversity Champions initiative which began in 2016, the local project is similar to a national scheme which invites MSPs to champion species under threat.

However, the list of issues for Aberdeenshire has been widened to include habitats such as peatlands, and issues in particular need of attention including pollinators, community tree planting and control of invasive non-native species (INNS).

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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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