S4W-16207: Protected areas for preservation of wildcats

To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to establish protected areas where feral cats can be neutered to avoid cross-breeding with wildcats.

Date Lodged: 01/07/13

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

There are no plans to put in place formal protected areas for Scottish wildcats. Although wildcats are a European Protected Species, they are listed on Annex IV of the Habitats Directive rather than Annex II, for which protected areas can be designated. Also, wildcats are wide ranging species and hence their protection does not lend itself to a designated site approach.

However, the conservation action plan for Scottish wildcats being coordinated by Scottish Natural Heritage, to be published shortly, will seek to target in situ conservation measures to priority geographic areas for wildcats. The measures will include approaches to the management of wild-living domestic cats and hybrids and promoting responsible ownership of domestic cats in these areas. The wider programme of actions will seek to work with land managers and the wider community in these areas.

Over the coming year further survey work will be on-going to establish the best areas within which to focus conservation efforts and their geographic extent.

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