Ana Luisa is a cat enthusiast who has a Biology masters from Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade in Lisbon, Portugal. She is currently visiting Scotland for the first time to work as a volunteer for Scottish Wildcat Action in our Strathbogie Wildcat Priority Area.
Latest News - Curiosity found the wildcat
Pictured above: Our new volunteer Ana Luisa Barros setting up a trail camera
Welcome to the first in a series of blogs from our new Portuguese volunteer, Ana Luisa Barros. Ana will be writing a regular blog for us about her experience as a volunteer in our Strathbogie Wildcat Priority Area, in what is her first visit to Scotland.
So where do I start!?
Long-story short...I LOVE cats! I've had cats all my life and I just find them so cute and smart. I've wanted to work with them for a long time. My passion for nature and wildlife led me to study biology, but my love for cats drove me to Scotland.
You might be asking “don't you have wildcats where you come from?” Fortunately we have and when I was figuring out the subject for my master thesis, an opportunity to work with the European wildcat emerged and I was delighted.
But I soon realised that the dream had to wait on the shelf a bit longer, because life happens and you have to compromise, blah blah blah. But I kept investigating. I asked myself “who works with cats? (small cats, big cats, I don't care!), whereabouts and what do they do?” And then I discovered Scottish Wildcat Action and their project to try and save the Highland Tiger.
When I finished my thesis I started thinking, “what's my next step?” That's when I read about David Barclay's (Cat Conservation Project Officer) experience on the Scottish Wildcat Action website. He talked about how he felt that after graduating he needed some practical experience to give him an edge when applying for jobs. And I thought, “that's what I need to do!”
So I decided to contact Scottish Wildcat Action and just say, “Hey, I love cats, I finished my masters and I really want to help you!” This was in 2016 and at that time Emma Rawling (Project Officer for Strathbogie Wildcat Priority Area) was really nice and talked to me about the project. Unfortunately, at that time they didn't have an opportunity for me, but she encouraged me to keep in touch.
So I did. In the summer of 2017 I thought I should email her again and see if they needed any help. She told me about the winter survey for wildcats and that they would open three volunteer positions. She encouraged me to apply and so, when the time came, I did. When she rang me to tell me I had been successful I was over the moon! Not only was I going to work in Scotland, a country I always wanted to visit, but I was finally going to work with wildcats!
So this is the beginning of this great experience. People may say I'm crazy to go and work in Scotland during the winter, but obviously I'm a ‘Crazy Wildcat Lady’ and this time, my persistence has really paid-off, and I am determined to enjoy it!
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