Th Scottish Wildcat, the only surviving member of the cat family native to Britain, is on the verge of extinction – with conservationists estimating that the species could be lost forever within “only a few months.”
Resembling a very muscular domestic tabby, wildcats are roughly 50% larger than domestic cats and famous for their ferocious nature and sprints of up to 30MPH. It is also infamously known as the only wild animal that can never be tamed by human hand, even when captive reared from kittens.
The Scottish Wildcat Association released their latest extinction warning after studying 2,000 records of camera trap sightings, eyewitness reports and road kills. Their conclusion? At best, perhaps only 35 pure-bred individuals remain.
This estimate is much worse than a report released last month by the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) that concluded 150 breeding pairs left in the wild.
Either way, the news is not good for a species that has managed to hold off mankind’s tendency to screw up the world 500 years longer than the British wolf and over a thousand more years than the British lynx or bear.
SWA chairman Steve Piper told The Daily Mail: “However you juggle the figures it’s hard to find anything positive. If you ignore the eyewitness sightings because they’re unreliable the numbers get even worse.
“Even if you decide the population of hybrids is larger you have to multiply it to impossible levels to get to the commonly quoted figure of 400 wildcats.
“The overwhelming evidence is that the wildcat is going to be extinct within months, anything else is blind hope.”