NatureScot Commissioned Report 360: Scottish Wildcat Survey 2006-2008
A previous survey of wildcats in the UK in 1983–1987 indicated strongholds in the Cairngorms, the Black Isle, Aberdeenshire and Ardnamurchan. The 2006–2008 survey replicated the earlier survey in Scotland using pelage – or fur – characteristics to positively identify wildcats.
This report describes a similar distribution to the earlier survey: most wildcats are in the north and east of Scotland – Aberdeenshire, Inverness-shire, Perthshire and the Central Highlands. There is also a localised population in Ardnamurchan and Morven. Pelage characteristics such as a blunt tail with distinct bands identify a wildcat, whereas white paws are not a wildcat trait.
The report recommends the following to help protect Scottish wildcats:
• Control feral cats in core wildcat areas to minimise hybridisation.
• Provide guidance for pet owners in core wildcat areas to minimise hybridisation.
• Involve vets, the Cats Protection League and landowners in discussions on controlling feral and domestic cats.
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