Scottish Wildcats have been spotted in the woodlands at two separate north-east sites.
The National Trust for Scotland captured video footage of a ‘good hybrid’ exploring the ancient woodlands at Drum Castle.
And at Leith Hall, a cat which was first sighted by Scottish Wildcat Action project manager Roo Campbell several years ago, has been captured on camera.
Roo said: “I detected this cat on camera when I was doing an earlier project putting GPS collars on cats in 2013 – 2014. She was using Leith Hall and a local farm and was a regular visitor to the trail cameras I had placed there. I managed to get a collar on her and was able to look closely at how she used the area.
“I always hoped to see her again when we began the Scottish Wildcat Action project in the same area.”
The cat was tested and was found to have a strong genetic score of 75% – meaning that while she has some domestic cat ancestry like most remaining wildcats, she has a relatively high proportion of wildcat ancestry.
Senior nature conservation advisor for the National Trust for Scotland, Richard Luxmoore said: “It’s great to be able to demonstrate that we have wildcats living on our properties in Aberdeenshire.
“We tend to associate this elusive beast with the wilder parts of the Highlands but some of our best evidence comes from the more populated agricultural land in the north-east. Some of our most important wildlife sites turn up where we least expect them.”
Scottish wildcats are one of the UK’s most endangered species.