Scotland’s forgotten cats: a tale of two kitties by Dr David Hetherington
Scotland was once home to two very secretive and solitary wild felid species – the Scottish wildcat and the Eurasian lynx. These days the lynx is long gone, while the wildcat is still with us, but only just. The lynx fell victim to centuries of habitat loss and persecution by humans, leaving only faint traces of its existence here. The wildcat, forced to retreat to the Highlands, was faced with a variety of threats, including inter-breeding with domestic cats.
The recently-concluded Cairngorms Wildcat Project was an innovative approach which worked with those who manage the countryside, such as farmers and gamekeepers, to tackle the threats the species faces and by doing so, learn more about our elusive Highland Tiger. Might some of the lessons learned through wildcat conservation allow the return one day of our long-lost lynx?