Chester Zoo partnered up with Scottish Wildcat Action and has supported their wildcat monitoring work in the highlands of Scotland by providing funding for camera traps. These camera traps are used to identify areas where wildcat populations are thriving or suffering.
Scottish Wildcat Action tell us a little more about their plans for this year’s survey, below:
“We are due to launch our winter survey for wildcats in December, a first step for this national project to protect what’s left of this highly endangered native animal. The winter survey involves setting up over 400 trail cameras to monitor cats living wild in the Scottish Highlands. It’s the biggest survey ever conducted for this species and should give the team here at Scottish Wildcat Action some crucial evidence to use to target our conservation efforts.
“Winter is the best time of year to monitor Scottish wildcats for two reasons:
1. The colder weather means that cats are hungrier and so more willing to scavenge the bait we put out
2. Winter is the breeding season, so the cats are moving around more in search of mates and so hopefully more likely to encounter our cameras
“With the help of an army of volunteers, the wildcat team will put out quails and pheasant wings, as well as scent lures, to encourage this notoriously cunning creature to pose for the cameras. These images will then help project officers to form a more accurate picture of what cats are where and highlight any problems.
“Thanks to generous funding from Chester Zoo members, as well as Heritage Lottery Fund, Cuddebackand Spypoint. Force-12 trail cameras will be used for the monitoring research. This will give the team a mix of still images and some high definition video.
“Recently, in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, a tantalising image of what could be a Scottish wildcat, was found by proud volunteer, Norman Davidson, when testing out one of the trail cameras. Could this be one of a few remaining wildcats? We’ll keep you posted.”
If you would like to find out more information about the work Scottish Wildcat Action are doing or if you think you have spotted a wildcat and would like to report a sighting, please visit the Scottish Wildcat Action website.