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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Crucial work to help save Scottish wildcats

 Pete Cairns - The Big Picture
This press release was issued on the 16th January 2018 so I'm a bit late posting, but better late than never. January was not a good month.
DNA collection and genetic analysis of wild Scottish wildcats is taking place this winter to help guide current and future conservation efforts for this endangered Scottish species.
Scottish Wildcat Action (SWA) and the Royal Zoological Society for Scotland (RZSS) will take part in a short period of wildcat trapping over two months in three of the project’s five priority areas.
The focus of this work is on targeted trapping of
wildcats for DNA sampling. All cats trapped and sampled will have full disease screening, pelage scoring and genetic testing.
In addition to the sampling, a number of cats will be fitted with GPS radio tracking collars that will allow researchers to gain a better understanding of how wildcats and feral cats coexist and how this relates to hybridisation.
Trail camera picture - Wildcat Strathbogie 1
These procedures will be carried one animal at a time so as to minimise disruption to the animal’s normal routine.
SWA is open and transparent about its work and all studies undertaken will be fully documented and available.
Roo Campbell, the SWA project manager, said: “We are at the stage of the project at which we need firm genetic information on all wildcats left to inform current and future conservation decisions. This information will also give us a clearer view on where population recovery techniques, such as reintroduction, could take place”.
“Trapping will allow us to collect samples for DNA and disease screening. The cat will be released immediately."
Trail camera picture - Wildcat Strathbogie 2
Dr Kerry Kilshaw from Oxford University is running further research into wildcats and their behaviour by putting temporary GPS radio tracking collars on wildcats and hybrids to track their movements.
“This information will help us hugely in enabling us to protect them in the future by better understanding their home ranges, den sites and how they use the landscape. It will also allow us to monitor the individuals, using live data of where each wildcat is.”
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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.