Conservation groups set to tackle the decline of Scottish wildcats across six key areas with the help of new funding.
A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £973,100 has been given to Wildcat Action, a conservation project involving over 30 organisations, community groups and landowners.
The grant has been awarded to help tackle the decline of the threatened Scottish wildcat over the next five years by focusing on the six priority areas of the Angus Glens, Strathbogie, Morvern, northern Strathspey, Strathavon and Strathpeffer.
The work is a key part of delivering the national Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Plan, launched last year.
A strong focus of the project is on tackling long-term risks to wildcats, such as loss of habitat, disease and mixing with domesticated cats. This involves raising awareness of wildcats and the threats they face, providing training in wildcat surveys and wildcat-friendly land management practices.
Lindsay Mackinlay, nature conservation advisor for the National Trust for Scotland, said: “We are probably in the last chance saloon for the Scottish wildcat in this country. We need to act now to save this fantastic animal and the support received from the Heritage Lottery Fund gives us the greatest opportunity yet to do just that. A Scotland without the Scottish wildcat would feel a much less wild place to live.”
Heritage Lottery Fund monies will be matched by contributions from the project partners, bringing the total project to £1.95m over five years.
Scottish Natural Heritage is the lead partner in the project working alongside the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and the Scottish Wildlife Trust among others.