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Wildcat population ‘no longer viable’ in Scotland
Hybridisation, where wildcats breed with feral or domestic cats, is a major threat to the species.

Cat owners ‘have an important role’ in reversing declines

There is no longer a viable wildcat population living in Scotland, according to a review of the evidence by members of the IUCN.

Previous studies have shown that hybridisation - where wildcats breed with feral or domestic cats - is a major threat to the species. Limited food sources and persecution are thought to have prompted the few remaining wildcats to breed with domestic cats.

Steps are now underway to bring the species back from the brink, including a potential release programme of captive-bred animals and a National Wildlife Reintroduction Centre.

Scottish Natural Heritage said a national conversation is needed on how to manage domestic and feral cat populations.

“The public will have an important role in helping minimise future hybridisation,” said head of policy and advice, Eileen Stuart. “Responsible cat ownership - including microchipping, neutering and vaccinations - is one way we can help reduce the devastating effects on wildcats.”

Dr Andrew Kitchener, steering group chair for Scottish Wildcat Action (SWA), added: “We now have the strongest and most reliable evidence to date that wildcats are in a more endangered state than previously understood.

“While we believe there are wildcats remaining in the wild in Scotland, there are no longer enough to ensure their continued survival as viable populations. We can now plan the essential next steps to give the wildcat a sustainable future.”

SWA’s project partner, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, is working with a range of organisations on a series of measures to reverse the declines.

Scottish cabinet secretary Roseanna Cunningham said she will “consider every possible action the Scottish Government can take to save [the species]”.

Image by Peter Trimming/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0
 

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AWF Student Grant open for submissions

News Story 1
 Applications are open for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Student Grant Scheme for innovative research projects designed to impact animal welfare.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students of veterinary science, veterinary nursing, agriculture studies and animal welfare are invited to submit their proposals to undertake research projects next year.

Grants are decided based on the project’s innovation, relevance to topical animal welfare issues and ability to contribute towards raising animal welfare standards. For more information visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
SPANA film highlights plight of working animals overseas

Animal welfare charity SPANA (The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has teamed up with Brian Blessed and other famous voices to highlight the plight of working animals overseas.

In a new animated film, the celebrities raise awareness by showing the solidarity of the UK's own working animals on strike. A sniffer dog (Brian Blessed), police horse (Peter Egan) and sheepdog (Deborah Meaden) are shown ignoring their duties and protesting in solidarity with animals in developing countries.

SPANA chef executive Geoffrey Dennis said: "We are so grateful to Deborah, Peter and Brian for lending their voices to our new film, and for speaking up for millions of working animals overseas. SPANA believes that a life of work should not mean a life of suffering, and it is only thanks to people’s generosity and support that we can continue our vital work improving the lives of these animals."