Wildcats once roamed throughout Scotland and due to increased human populations,
habitat fragmentation and hybridisation with the introduced domestic cat, their wild
population is now estimated at no more than 100 pure-bred individuals.
At Northumberland Zoo
In 2019, we welcomed a pair of Scottish Wildcats to our collection, Cromarty & Ross.
They have settled in well and are part of a managed studbook breeding programme. They have produced kittens in the past and we hope to be able to do so in the future. The captive breeding programme has very strict breeding permissions in order to ensure that no individuals’ genetics are ever over-represented in the captive populations. Therefore, the studbook keeper, who is based at the Highland Wildlife Park, closely monitors and tests the genetic purity of each individual in the programme in order to decide which pairs can breed every year.
At the Highland Wildlife Park, near Aviemore, they are in the process of building a large captive breeding facility with soft-release pens specifically for breeding and releasing wildcats back into the Cairngorms.
The Scottish Wildcat Action group works with zoos throughout the UK to establish a captive breeding programme as well as managing the reintroduction of captive-bred cats into the wild. The main aims of the Scottish Wildcat Action group are to:
- Gather data on wildcats to better understand their habits
- Breed healthy cats for later release back into the wild to boost the wild population
- Trapping and neutering feral cats to prevent hybridisation
- Work with
local people in areas where wildcats are found in order to reduce the risk of
hybridisation, disease and accidental persecution
You can make a donation here if you would like to help us with our conservation aims.