Highland Tiger is the nickname given to the region's wildcats - they have become such a rare sight that many people don’t know they even exist.
Wildcats were once widespread in the UK, but the ‘Highland tigers’ are now confined to just a few pockets of Scotland. Conservationists fear the species will become extinct unless efforts are made to help them.
So, it's good news that Saving Wildcats is on a mission to preserve and expand the creatures which, they say, are currently only clinging on by a claw. The rewilding project is working to reverse the kitty’s fortunes by releasing captive bred animals into Cairngorms National Park. The first cat, Nelly, arrived at the breeding centre last week and 15 more are due to follow.
“Offspring will then be transferred to larger pre-release enclosures as they mature where they will undergo a dedicated training programme to prepare them for life in the wild,” explained Saving Wildcats’ David Barclay. “We hope the first cats will be ready to be introduced into a site in the Scottish Highlands in 2022.”
It's expected that 20 wildcats will be released each year and all released wildcats will wear a special (GPS) collar so their movements and behaviour can be recorded.
In the longer term, wildcat releases will extend to other locations in Scotland.
For more info, this 3 minute video about wildcats and Saving Wildcats is beautifully presented: