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Record year for Scottish wildcat captive breeding

2021-1-6 16:38| 发布者: hujian| 查看: 8| 评论: 0

摘要: A record 57 Scottish wildcat kittens were born in captivity this year as part of a UK-wide breeding programme.The kittens could potentially be part of a plan to release captive-bred cats into the wild ...



A record 57 Scottish wildcat kittens were born in captivity this year as part of a UK-wide breeding programme.

The kittens could potentially be part of a plan to release captive-bred cats into the wild in some areas of Scotland.

Conservationists have warned the species is on the brink of extinction.

Twenty-two litters were born this year across 10 sites, including the Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore and Dundee's Camperdown Wildlife Park.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), one of the organisations involved in the captive breeding, described it as a record year.

In the wild, numbers of Scottish wildcat have collapsed following habitat loss, persecution and breeding with domestic cats.

Scottish wildcat kittenIMAGE COPYRIGHTHIGHLAND WILDLIFE PARK
image captionThe Scottish wildcat is on the brink of extinction in the wild

This year it was announced Britain's "first large-scale" conservation breeding centre for rare Scottish wildcats is to be created in the Highlands.

The project could eventually see up to 20 captive-bred wildcats a year released into the Cairngorms, one of the last strongholds for the species. The first cats could be released in 2022.

Longer term, cats could be released at other Scottish locations.

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The new centre, part of the Saving Wildcats project, is to be set up at RZSS' Highland Wildlife Park.

WildcatsIMAGE COPYRIGHTSCOTTISH WILDCAT ACTION
image captionA breed and release centre is to be created at the Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore

David Barclay, of Saving Wildcats, said: "Wildcats are one of Britain's rarest and most endangered mammals which means every one of these kittens is a potential lifeline.

"Over the last few years, the members of the wildcat breeding programme have demonstrated the immense value in working together to secure a future for this iconic species."


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