Wildcat litter born at reserve
A captive wildcat breeding programme on a Sutherland reserve is proving successful.
Alladale Wilderness Reserve recently welcomed its second litter of near pure bred wildcat kittens.
It is estimated that there are fewer than 400 wildcats left - making it one of the rarest feline species in the world. Habitat destruction, human persecution and interbreeding with domestic cats has decimated the population.
A wildcat enclosure has been built at Alladale Reserve, owned by Paul Lister and located near Ardgay.
The project is being run in partnership with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. The reserve was initially home to two female and two male wildcats.
Two kittens were born in July last year and the reserve has just announced that it now has another three kittens.
Reserve manager Innes MacNeill and ranger Ryan Munro are responsible for the wildcats’ welfare - visitors are not allowed near the enclosure. Mr MacNeill said: “The first two months are critical for the kittens’ survival, and therefore they are left undisturbed with their mother, taking their first steps outside and exploring their enclosure”
The kittens will be relocated to other facilities that are part of the Captive Breeding Programme.