Domestic cat

Domestic cat

Domestic cats are thought to have been first tamed back around 10,000 somwhere in the middle east. Unfortunately, as this is the cat that makes up the worldwide domestic cat population (almost exclusively) in many regions like Scotland, while reduction in numbers made specific subspecies of wildcat endangered, it has often been hybridisation that has pushed them over the edge.

There is little point in showing a map of the world, as they are found in almost every human population. It is thought that there are at least 200 million across the globe

Domestic cats are thought to have been tamed in Israel, which has unfortunately meant that this species of wild cat is now spread across the globe – many local species of wildcat have become extinct through hybridisation, the British wildcat is just one such example. There are now only pure British wildcats in captivity, and while there are still quite a few living wild in Scotland they have Asiatic wildcat features. This has happened in many places and solutions are not yet forthcoming.

While unfortunate, there is still work being done. In the UK there are plans to clear a peninsular of domestic cats, and re-establish a wildcat population. Only in situations like Scotland is hybridization likely, the most common reaction to a wildcat meeting a domestic cat is for the wildcat to kill the domestic cat. I hope to live to see the wildcat roaming Scotland once more, but we will se what happens.

They are not hard to see if you are in the right place. I have seen them in Africa, take a night drive in almost any nature reserve. Links will be added below.

aaa The Highlands, Scotland

The Highlands, Scotland, UK

The highlands of Scotland is an odd place. It has one of the lowest densities of humans, but at the same time the UK has eradicated the majority of predators, and despite being required by European law, has ruled out reintroducing any predators that once lived here.

I would love to see a small number of wolf packs roaming the highlands, to keep the prey on the move.

There is still a wide range of wildlife to spot in the highlands, and it is a beautiful place to visit. The problem is that at the current time, it is mostly not in a natural state. Furthermore, it is unfortunately very hard to regrow the Caledonian forests, as there are so many red deer.

 A wide variety of other animals and birds can be spotted in the area. For instance, black grouse, golden eagles, osprey and ptarmigan. Also, you can spot capercaillie, pine martens, squirrels (red ones, of course!) and otters, to name but a few. There have been a small number of reindeer reintroduced (native but locally extinct).

The eastern highlands are largely included in a range of mountains called the Cairngorms which are also a fascinating area to explore

Wildcats could potentially reintroduced into England for the first time in hundreds of years

Wildcats have been restricted to parts of Scotland for hundreds of years, despite once being found throughout the UK. Indeed, it is a problem where a significant number of people now refer to it as the Scottish wildcat, something that is only temporary, and should not be the case for ever.

Although looking sweet, British wild cats are impressive hunters, and can on occasion take deer

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