Wildcat research underway in Morvern
Research on wildcats is underway in Morvern, aiming to protect and conserve genetically pure Scottish examples of the species – felis silvestris grampia. The project is called Wildcat Haven (WH) – which we guess tells us something about what the researchers think of this areahttp://ardtornish.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/wildcat-haven-summary-2012.pdf.
Scottish wildcats are a protected species – so great care and attention is required in research on them. The team aims to assess the population size and purity of Scottish wildcats in the area in the next two to five years. It’s been estimated by some authors that there may be only 400 wildcats left in Scotland. A recent survey published by Scottish Natural Heritage showed they’re distributed widely in the Highlands, with some hotspots. Scottish wildcat numbers are not known with any authority because of the difficulty in identification and distinction between wildcats and hybrids.
The WH objective is to survey the area in two phases. Phase 1 will use camera trapping to gather information about the whereabouts of the cats. Phase 2 will collect blood samples during cage trapping from what are believed to be wildcats, based on pelage characteristics, to examine genetic information about wildcats and closely related animals, including hybrids.
If you’d like further information on Scottish wildcats and the Wildcat Haven project, please contact Adrian Davis on 07761673231. To see more information about the project, please click here