Scottish Wildcat Action launch new website

Scottish wildcat behind tree
Norette Ferns

Have you seen a wild living cat in the Scottish Highlands - whether feral, hybrid or wildcat?

You can now report your sightings on the new Scottish Wildcat Action website.

Scottish Wildcat Action, supported by the Scottish Government and Heritage Lottery Fund, is delivering the first national conservation plan to bring back viable populations of Scottish wildcats. Their newly launched website has easy-to-use features which encourage people to report sightings, volunteer with fieldwork, and register their interest to help.

Dr Roo Campbell, Scottish Wildcat Action Project Manager for the work in wildcat priority areas, said:

"Local sightings of all wild-living cats are key in our efforts to save Scottish wildcats and the new website will allow our local communities to report sightings.

"As part of our national work, our team of staff and volunteers will set up more than 400 trail cameras in wildcat priority areas to build up a picture of what’s out there, but public sightings will add valuable intelligence to this standardised monitoring."

Trail cameras are motion-sensitive field cameras used for monitoring shy species that live in remote places.

Dr Andrew Kitchener, Principal Curator at National Museums Scotland, and partner in the project, said:

"The most useful sightings will be those that are followed up with a photograph so we can identify whether it is a wildcat, a domestic cat or a hybrid of the two. There are seven key characteristics we are looking for and each characteristic will be given a score of 1 for domestic cat, 2 for hybrid or 3 for wildcat."

The general advice is if it looks like a large tabby cat with a thick ringed tail with a black blunt tip, it could be one of few remaining wildcats.

Wildcat priority areas identified by Scottish Wildcat Action are Strathpeffer, Strathbogie, Northern Strathspey, the Angus Glens, Strathavon and Morvern. Sightings and volunteers within these areas are particularly important to the conservation of the species but sightings from across Scotland are also welcomed.

Visit the Scottish Wildcat Action website to find out more. You can also follow @SaveOurWildcats on Twitter.

Photo: Scottish wildcat © Peter Cairns/Northshots