Wildcats are clinging on by a claw and Scotland is their last refuge from extinction in Britain. Thankfully, over 30 zoos, wildlife parks and private collections have come together as members of a breeding programme to help ensure their survival.
The Royal Zoological Society for Scotland (RZSS), the wildlife conservation charity and lead partner for the Saving Wildcats project, has been managing the UK captive population since 2015 to make sure those wildcats can support the restoration of the species in Britain. In 2020, RZSS celebrated a record breeding year after 57 wildcat kittens were born within the UK conservation breeding programme.
“Wildcats are one of Britain’s rarest and most endangered mammals, which means every kitten 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.”
David Barclay, Saving Wildcats ex-situ conservation manager and coordinator of the UK conservation breeding programme
Kittens born into the breeding programme are all potential candidates to join us at the Saving Wildcats conservation breeding for release centre where they will contribute directly to wildcat restoration in Scotland.
Is your zoo or wildlife park is interested in becoming a captive holder of wildcats? We'd love to hear from you.