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World famous golf club pitches in to help save Scottish Wildcat


By Gavin Musgrove

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Golfers at Royal Dornoch Golf Club might be better acquainted with the links – pardon the pun – but it is the even rarer Scottish Wildcat they are helping.

Back in 2019, Royal Dornoch – regularly voted the best golf course in the world – launched a new clothing range for members with the Scottish wildcat featured as it is an emblem on the club's coat of arms.

Some of the garmets sporting the Royal Dornoch Scottish wildcat emblem which has been helping to raise funds.
Some of the garmets sporting the Royal Dornoch Scottish wildcat emblem which has been helping to raise funds.

A first donation of £2,195 from sales last year was handed over to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) but the club and its members have not stopped there.

Royal Dornoch has several member-only lines from which it has now collected a donation from each sale, this time raising £2,840 for Saving Wildcats.

The project is a European partnership aimed at restoring Scotland’s wildcat population by breeding and releasing them into the wild.

The work is based at the RZSS' Highland Wildlife Park and there are hopes the first wildcats can be released into the Cairngorms as soon as next year.

Neil Hampton, general manager at Royal Dornoch, said: “We offer our thanks to the many members that have purchased items from the Wildcat range once more.

“We have gathered together another considerable sum to continue our support of Saving Wildcats and play our part in saving this wonderful animal.

"We hope they continue to thrive and are delighted to support these efforts.”

There could be as few as 200 pure Scottish wildcats remaining in the wild with hybridisation with domestic cats the main cause of their decline.
There could be as few as 200 pure Scottish wildcats remaining in the wild with hybridisation with domestic cats the main cause of their decline.

David Barclay, ex-situ conservation manager for Saving Wildcats, thanked Royal Dornoch for another generous donation and the club's ongoing support for the project.

"It has been great to hear that the members’ clothing line is doing so well," he said.

“It is really exciting to be bringing together all the necessary resources and expertise to save Scotland’s wildcats, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone making this vital work possible.”

Golf in Dornoch dates back to 1616 with the golf club recently celebrating success after being crowned ‘Scotland’s Best Golf Course 2020’ at the World Golf Awards.

In a challenging year for all due to the global Covid pandemic, the award was a tonic for all at the club and recognises the quality of their famous links as they look forward to the 2021 season.

The historic Royal Dornoch Golf Club’s coat of arms, authorised by the Court of the Lord Lyon, includes the wildcat, which is on the crest of the Earls of Sutherland.

The Saving Wildcats partnership is led by RZSS in collaboration with NatureScot, Forestry and Land Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Norden’s Ark and Junta de Andalucía.

For more information on wildcat conservation in Scotland and to sign up to the Saving Wildcats newsletter, click here


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