Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Council signs up to protect Scottish wildcats in Aberdeenshire

The iconic Scottish wildcat is at risk of extinction
The iconic Scottish wildcat is at risk of extinction

One of Scotland’s most iconic animals will be protected under a scheme to create “safe places” for them to roam.

Scottish wildcats – or the tiger of the Highlands – are at risk of extinction, mainly from mixing with feral domestic cats but also due to disease and persecution.

Now Aberdeenshire Council has signed up to a new initiative to promote the wildcat, and “champion” the species.

As part of the national Scottish Wildcat Action plan, safe places for the breed are being established in six priority areas, including Strathbogie, near Huntly.

Within this area, action will be taken to conserve the wildcats, reduce the risks of interbreeding with feral cats, and to encourage land management practices that benefit them.

Residents of Aberdeenshire are also being encouraged to report any sightings of the elusive breed.

Emma Rawlings, Scottish wildcat priority areas project officer, said: “Scottish wildcats, which are our only native cat, are on the edge of extinction and urgently need action to save the shrinking populations in the wild.

“The main threats are from hybridisation with feral domestic cats, but also from disease and accidental persecution.”

The project is being run by Scottish Natural Heritage, and as well as Aberdeenshire Council, about 20 other organisations – such as the Cairngorms National Park – will also be playing their part.

It is the latest phase of a six-year plan to tackle the wildcat’s decline, which includes eventually developing a captive breeding programme with a view to boosting the population in the wild in the future – once the risks are addressed.

Councillors have previously been asked to champion a particular animal and support projects to raise awareness of them, and Aboyne councillor Katrina Farquhar has decided to support the wildcat.

Yesterday she said: “Aberdeenshire Council has identified a number of ways in which it can support the aims of this project, such as encouraging people to report sightings of wildcats and promoting responsible cat ownership, ensuring the needs of wildcat are taken into account when the council is considering planning other land use decisions.

“We hope that these combined actions will help ensure one of Scotland’s most mysterious creatures has a more certain future.”

Staff are now being trained to raise awareness of the threats faced by the wildcat, and what can be done to protect them and their habitat.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]