Britain's Only Cat
Scottish Wildcats are native to Britain and were once found throughout England and Wales as well as Scotland. They are now confined to the upper Highlands of Scotland. These animals are elusive and to see one in the wild is an incredibly special event.
Just a couple of years ago experts believed that there were between 35 and 100 pure breed Scottish Wildcats and up to 400 hybrids. The latest estimate is that there are up to 100 hybrids with the possibility that there are no 100% pure Wildcats left.
Threats To Wildcats
The main threat is hybridisation – this is where Wildcats and domestic cats mate. Hybrid offspring are fertile and the mix of genes can cause problems for these animals. Hybrids with high quality genetics are a potential saviour for the species though.
Several conservation bodies are working to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction. Their efforts include a captive breeding programme, a programme to vaccinate and neuter feral, farm and pet cats and the monitoring of habitats.