The Scottish wildcat disaster train rolls on
While it’s gratifying to see publicity for the campaigns aimed at saving the Scottish wildcat from extinction, I still fear for its future if those involved cannot be made to form a consensus and work together, instead of forever being seen as being in dispute about who is right and who is wrong, amid accusations of doing harm rather than good with their plans.
There was news that wildcats had recently been caught on camera at two National Trust for Scotland sites in Aberdeenshire, near Drum Castle, and near Leith Hall.
More news described how new 1,500-square-mile conservation zone in Caithness was to be established, joining a similar area already set up in Ardnamurchan, with a long-term plan to see the two areas linked up to created a “truly national” safe area for the species.
Now, here’s the problem:
On 23 April 2016 I noted this (on the Cairngorms National Park Authority web site)…
Statement on behalf of Scottish Wildcat Action:
Eileen Stuart, head of policy and advice at Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), said: “We at Scottish Wildcat Action (SWA) are once again dismayed at the latest statement produced by Wildcat Haven on 12 April 2016. We have a Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Plan which has been published and been developed by experts in their fields.
“Wildcat Haven’s actions misrepresent the progress we have made in the conservation of Scottish wildcat. To be able to work with them, we need them to produce evidence and information relating to their activities.
Full statement can be read here: Statement on behalf of Scottish Wildcat Action
Then, on 23 August 2016 I noted this (in the news)…
Wildcat Haven says Scottish Wildcat Action is putting mothers and their newborns at risk.
A Scottish Government-backed wildcat protection scheme could be endangering the lives of newborn kittens, a conservation group has warned.
Scottish Wildcat Action (SWA) aims to catch and neuter feral felines in Aberdeenshire to prevent them from breeding with wildcats, which are critically endangered.
Wildcat Haven says the group risks capturing new mothers and harming their young by laying traps during the breeding season.
Full statement can be read here: Wildcat Haven says Scottish Wildcat Action is putting mothers and their newborns at risk
Frankly, this behaviour from both sides (and I am not picking one or the other) is just not good enough.
I’m not even going to waste my time writing a new comment today, merely quote what I wrote about 2 year ago, since it seems to have just about the same relevance, and shows that little has improved regarding relations between these two warring factions:
It’s a while since I gave efforts to save the Scottish wildcat a mention, mainly because I couldn’t really see any good news to relate, and because there also seemed to be disagreement between those who should know better.
With extinction so close, that’s a truly sad and disappointing thing to have to note.
On 2 April 2015, we had Scottish wildcat captive breeding plan defended – BBC News
Sadly, this article reveals that rather than get together, various experts have taken up opposing views on whether it is better to create a haven which promotes safe living and breeding areas for wildcats, or to trap them and stock captive breeding programmes.
Surely the issue not for organisation to fight over which is right or wrong, as it should be obvious that a mix is needed. We already have animals in captivity that are breeding. We also need haven areas where animals can be protected and allowed to live and breed. Polarised groups at war only produce one thing – casualties!
I have nothing to add…
And no progress to note.
This recent video looks at not only the Scottish wildcat, but also touches on efforts being made to reintroduce the lynx:
Although it was good that he at least agreed to take part, it was actually sad to hear the farmer’s view on lynx, his dismissal of objective evidence in favour of hearsay and anecdotes, and beliefs influenced by the media and ignorance.
It reminded me of news coverage of a lynx escape from an English zoo last year:
“The animal should not be approached as it could become dangerous if alarmed or cornered.
“Officers have visited two local schools to offer safety advice and reassurance.
“All children at All Saints Primary School are not in school as they are away on a field trip.
“Police are also working with staff at Little Orchard Montessori School to make sure they are kept inside.
“Officers are also going house to house in the area to offer advice and are assisting with the search on the ground.
After all that, Flaviu wandered around for about 3 weeks and… nothing happened.
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