Scottish Wildcat Action

2015 - 2020

Built on a strong partnership keen to make a difference, Scottish Wildcat Action was the first national conservation plan with a vision to restore viable populations of wildcats north of the Highland fault line by:

  • Working with local people in wildcat priority areas to reduce the risks of hybridisation, disease and accidental persecution
  • Breeding healthy wildcats for later release to bolster the population through a conservation breeding programme
  • Gathering extensive data and sharing our findings to improve understanding of this elusive predator

In spring 2018, Scottish Wildcat Action partners commissioned members of the IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group to carry out an independent review of the conservation status of the wildcat in Scotland and the conservation work done to date.

The report concluded there is no longer a viable wildcat population living wild in Scotland, with hybridisation with domestic cats the major threat to their survival. This means the extinction of the species is highly likely without wildcat releases.

Recommendations signalled a step change in wildcat conservation in Scotland, with an increased focus on captive breeding for release now being required to safeguard this iconic species from extinction.

Building on the work of the Scottish Wildcat Action partnership, the Saving Wildcats (#SWAforLIFE) recovery project includes the development of the UK’s first wildcat conservation breeding for release centre.

In 2023, NatureScot published research undertaken during Scottish Wildcat Action that is being used to inform the work needed to secure the long-term future of the critically-endangered wildcat population in Scotland.

Looking to report a potential wildcat sighting?

While evidence shows there are very few wild-living cats that meet the genetic and pelage criteria for wildcats, you can submit your image(s) to iRecord, as the Saving Wildcats field team have direct access to this nationwide data. You can also download the Mammal Mapper App and submit your image(s) there.

If you photograph a possible wildcat and you live in Badenoch and Strathspey, please send it to


Scottish Wildcat Action partners and supporters

So many amazing organisations helped with funding and support for Scottish Wildcat Action, thank you.

Give wildcats a future

With your support, we can secure a future for the beautiful Highland Tiger.