Latest News - SWA welcomes new Steering Group Chairman Dr Andrew Kitchener

SWA welcomes new Steering Group Chairman Dr Andrew Kitchener

Last month Scottish Wildcat Action welcomed its new Steering Group chairman after former chair Allan Bantick OBE stepped down after two years in the role.

Allan is replaced by renowned National Museums of Scotland's Principal Curator of Vertebrates Dr Andrew Kitchener.

Speaking about his new role, Dr Kitchener said: "I am delighted to take over as Chair of the SWCAP Steering Group at this crucial moment in the project as we refocus our conservation efforts in the light of new evidence from SWA that the wildcat is on the brink of extinction in Scotland.

"Through captive breeding and release, we will re-establish the wildcat throughout Scotland but this will be a very long-term project. Research-based evidence will become ever more important in helping us develop the best conservation strategies for the wildcat’s recovery."

He added: "I would like to pay tribute to Allan for the first class job he did in the role previously and wish him all the very best. I am sure he will keep a close eye on future wildcat conservation."

As well as being responsible for the curation and development of the vertebrate collections at National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh, which number around 500,000 specimens, including Dolly the Sheep, he is very active in research.

His main research interests are the geographical variation in and biogeography of mammals, hybridisation, Scottish zooarchaeology, the effects of captivity on endangered vertebrates, and functional morphology.

Since arriving at National Museums Scotland more than 30 years ago, he has been involved in research on and conservation of the wildcat in Scotland and developed the wildcat pelage (markings) identification criteria which are used today.

Andrew has developed several permanent and temporary exhibitions, including Monkey Business (2016), The Wolfson Galleries of the Natural World (2011), Cats … the ultimate predators (2004), Beginnings (1998), Bird Biology (1994) and World in Our Hands (1992).

He holds several advisory roles, including as a member of IUCN Cat Specialist Group, for which he leads the Cat Classification Task Force and the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme Steering Group, and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Biobanking Working Group.

Andrew is an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Glasgow.




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