Scottish Gamekeepers Association to help save the Scottish Wildcat

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association is part of the new multi-partner Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Group, chaired by Scottish Natural Heritage. The group will look, over the next 6 months, at a range of national actions designed to save the wildcat.

The main threat to wildcats is hybridisation with feral domestic cats which raises many challenges in correctly identifying wildcats from often fleeting sightings. The first action agreed by the group was an immediate targeted survey to identify the best surviving populations of wildcats.

Survey work will be coordinated with the intention of identifying key regions to focus research and conservation actions within.

Other possibilities discussed included innovative approaches such as captive breeding and translocation of cats in the wild.  However, the current emphasis is to obtain more up to date information on wildcat numbers and distribution which in turn will be used to prioritise action on the ground.

The group aims to have a comprehensive action plan underway by next spring forming a Scotland-wide approach to wildcat conservation overseen by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Alex Hogg, Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, (SGA) said: “Following on from our involvement with the Cairngorms Wildcat Project, we feel it is enormously important the efforts to preserve the wildcat continue at a critical time and we are happy to assist this process again.

“In particular, gamekeepers have managed large areas Scotland’s countryside for many decades and we will be appealing to our members to help us with information about historic wildcat strongholds as well as up to date sightings in the wild.

“As keepers cover the ground at all hours they often see things others don’t, and we can collate the information and feed this into the action group’s data, helping to identify priority conservation actions for wildcats.”

Individual members of the Conservation Action Group will work together in task groups focused on key aspects of wildcat conservation such as research, taxonomy, genetics and captive breeding, developing proposals alongside other experts and presenting these for approval by the core action group.

7 comments to Scottish Gamekeepers Association to help save the Scottish Wildcat

  • Ann Cardwell

    Am I reading this correctly, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association providing their help to conserve a predator? If the news is true then all I can say is why don’t the SGA put as much energy into protecting Scotland’s raptors?

  • Jimmy

    Getting the gamekeeping industry to clean up its act is the single biggest factor that could change that

  • paul williams

    And if look through the square window it’s….Jackanory!

  • A.A

    they have culled them along with other species for long enough,why the change of heart.

  • A.A

    Alex hogg…Happy to…to continue trapping,snaring ect. KILLING SCOTTISH WILDCATS

  • nirofo

    Scottish Gamekeepers Association to help save the Scottish Wildcat, don’t make me laugh, it’d be like putting the fox in among the chickens. What total hypocricy, they are mainly responsible for the demise of the Scottish Wildcat in the first place, surely they don’t expect us to believe they’ve turned over a new leaf and decided to go straight. I’m afraid it’s the usual PA excersise to make the gullible public think they, the gamekeepers are the custodians of our natural heritage and are doing their bit to help the plight of the poor persecuted Wildcat.

  • harrier man

    Maybe one of their policies will be to remove raptors and this will help the wildcat population recover, cynical but look beyond the rhetoric.