Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

More bad news for the Scottish wildcat

WildcatWhile it comes as no great surprise, it is both sad and worrying at many levels to see that the estimated number of pure Scottish wildcats has fallen from 400 (when I first placed a large link to the Scottish Wildcat Association on this page, probably back in 2005), to less than 100 in 2013.

Scottish wildcat could be extinct ‘within two years’

I am not seeking to pour scorn on recent stories about an environmental activist called Mandy Haggith, who reportedly lives ‘off-grid’ in Assynt and is described as being mad about trees and bears, but given that we still have some wildcats left in the wild, her idea about reintroducing bears into the Scottish Highlands is seriously wasteful of time and effort – given that bears died out in the area in prehistoric times. Not a few decades or even centuries ago, as part of a man-made mistake, such as the extinction of the great auk. It’s also notably based on a fictional story. Factually, of the last two great auks, one was shot for no reason, while the other was killed on St Kilda, where the locals thought it was a witch.

I’m just pointing out that we don’t seem to be very clever, even today.

What’s being proposed here is not “reintroduction”, but thinly veiled animal cruelty. The environment these animals lived in here no longer exists, and they would starve, or destroy the current natural species. I’m also reasonably sure criminals would find some way to kill or kidnap the animals to make a quick buck.

Inter-breeding threat

Disease and inter-breeding with domestic and feral cats are among the main threats to numbers of pure-bred wildcats.

In 2012, a project funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) produced a report which estimated that only 150 breeding pairs were left in the wild.

But, only a year later, a team put together by the Scottish Wildcat Association (SWA) carried out another review using different methods, and looked at 2,000 records of camera trap sightings, eyewitness reports, and stories of road kills.

This analysis suggested there could be 35 wildcats – a much lower figure than previously arrived at.

Dr Paul O’Donoghue, a biologist at the University of Chester biologist, has suggested that pure wildcats should now be trapped, and asked that private individuals come forward and help with the conservation effort. It is known that in remote and rural parts of the Highlands, people look after wildcats that visit their properties and could have the “very best” wildcats as pets.

He added that the species was now one of the rarest in the world,  it was of the “utmost importance” that large scale live trapping took place. This would allow cats which were  found to be pure-bred wildcats to be placed in protected areas in the west Highlands.

I wish him luck, but hold out little hope for the survival of the Scottish wildcat.

We have failed to safeguard even the 400 that were believed to exist as long ago as 2005.

If we can’t look after that larger number over a period of 8 years, or more, what chance does the remaining handful have?

And we still have to put up with the short-sighted anti-zoo types as well.

Petition

An online petition can be signed here:

SAVE THE SCOTTISH WILDCAT! – The Petition Site

Scottish wildlife in general is under threat

The day after the wildcat extinction story was published, a much wider warning was published:

Some of Scotland’s wildlife is facing a major decline and some species could be extinct within years a new report has warned.

Those in trouble include breeding seabirds, flowering plants and the Scottish wildcat.

The report – compiled by 25 conservation charities – examined more than 3000 species, of which 60% have declined over the last 50 years.

It described 31% as having “declined strongly”.

Via Scotland’s wildlife facing a decline and extinction report warns | Aberdeen & North | News | STV

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May 24, 2013 - Posted by | Appeal | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Please sign petition: SAVE THE SCOTTISH WILDCAT!
    It’s on Google Search: petition SAVE THE SCOTTISH WILDCAT!
    OR full address: http://www.thepetionsite.com/356/348/002/save-the-scottish-wildcat/
    Thanks

    Like

    Comment by Keith Melton | May 23, 2013


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