First Scottish Wildcat rehabilitation enclosure provides lifeline for species
Written by: Peter Bevis
Published: 17th Apr 2018
Highland Titles have announced the creation of the first wildcat rescue facility in Scotland. Measuring over an acre in size, the enclosure is the largest wildcat facility in Europe and encompasses natural wildcat habitat. This will allow any orphaned kitten to learn how to hunt and any injured adult to be able to recuperate without being stressed by human presence on their journey back to the wild.
Wildcats face many threats such as snaring, poisoning, road traffic accidents and disturbance of den sites, which can lead to the abandonment of kittens. This, in turn, means that wildcats are sometimes found in need of rehabilitation.
Up until now, there has been no rehabilitation enclosure for Scottish wildcats which is specifically designed to help prepare them for their return to the wild.
This has meant that any kitten or adult that has been found and handed in has ended up in the zoo and condemned to a life of captivity.
With an estimated 35 remaining, every single wildcat counts and it is imperative that any injured animal is returned once fit, back to the wild where it belongs, to allow it contribute to the ongoing survival of the species.
Wildcat Haven – the leading wildcat conservation project in Scotland – commented, ‘This is a fantastic boost for Scottish wildcat conservation and offers a route back to the wild for any wildcats in need of help. This is a much better alternative than a future in captivity’.
This is not a zoo and the enclosure is not on public display. It is built without compromise and with only the wildcat’s needs in mind. It has multiple secluded den sites, forest, a running stream and open grassland areas. It represents absolute best practice and sets the standard against which all other wildcat enclosures should be judged.
Any wildcats that arrive at the facility will be released at the earliest opportunity and will be fitted with ultra-light state of the art GPS collars, so their progress can be monitored in the wild. The wildcats will be released into areas made safe by Wildcat Haven, who operate a large scale neutering programme to ensure the wildcat is protected against its primary threat of hybridisation.
This is an exciting step forward in wildcat conservation and offers a much needed lifeline for the species.
A spokesman for Highland Titles said “We have been supporting the conservation of Scottish Wildcats for over 6 years and we are delighted to continue that support with the first facility of its kind.”
For more information or to schedule an interview with a company representative, please contact Stewart Borland at our Keil Hill Nature Reserve:
Highland Titles Nature Reserve
Duror of Appin
PA38 4BW Tel: 01631 740333 www.highlandtitles.com