S4W-16206: Programmes in place to protect wildcats

To ask the Scottish Government what programmes are in place to ensure the survival of wildcats outside captivity.

Date Lodged: 01/07/13

Answered by Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Environment and Rural Affairs Transport (30/07/13):

The Scottish Cairngorms Wildcat project ran from 2009-2012. Scottish Natural Heritage, Cairngorms National Park Authority and Forestry Commission Scotland were partners in the Cairngorms Wildcat Project, along with the Royal Zoological Society for Scotland and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association.

The project was a trial of practical conservation actions in an area considered to be a stronghold of the Scottish wildcat. The project aimed to tackle the threats facing Scottish wildcats by:

Working with land managers to ensure that predator control was wildcat-friendly, supporting the work of cat welfare organisations which neuter feral cats around towns, villages and farms, and encouraging responsible domestic cat ownership (i.e. increased neutering and vaccination) in the Cairngorms National Park, monitoring the wildcat population and the extent of both hybridisation and disease with the input of land managers and the public and raising awareness of the plight of the Scottish wildcat.

A conservation action plan, which has been co-ordinated by Scottish Natural Heritage and is due to be published shortly, will build on the work carried out on the Scottish Cairngorms Wildcat project and will contain a detailed programme of work to help conserve the Scottish wildcat.

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