Scottish WildcatCredits: Alan Tunnicliffe/ Shutterstock

Wildcats in Scotland ‘functionally extinct’- A Major Study Concludes

by | December 25, 2018

As per a report that appeared in BBC, Scotland’s wildcats are either on the brink of extinction or have gone extinct already. 

The astonishing conclusion has been made by a major study that found wildcats in Scotland to be a part of the same gene pool as that of domestic cats. The study concludes Scottish wildcats to be functionally extinct.

The study was conducted by researchers at Edinburgh Zoo’s Wildgenes Lab. The study included DNA from close to 300 cats, of which the majority has been identified as wild cats. 

Wildcats in Scotland 'functionally extinct'
Scottish Wildcat functionally extinct
Credits: davemhuntphotography/ Shutterstock

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Wildcats in Scotland ‘functionally extinct’?

Lead researcher, Dr Helen Senn told BBC that the majority of wildcats were hybrid and not purely wild, meaning Scottish wildcats are almost extinct from a functional perspective. 

Feral, domestic or wild, cats love making kittens and it appears they aren’t much choosy about their partners. This has lead to the emergence of hybrid wildcats. 

The study included DNA from: 125 wild-living dead cats (collected in a span of 25 years), 60 wildcats shot between 1895-1985 by gamekeepers, 72 cats caught from the wild, 19 cats trapped in the wild, and 19 domestic felines.

Scottish Wildcat relaxing on a beach
Credits: Real Moment/ Shutterstock

Dr Senn quipped that though the effects of this genetic mix-up is unknown, yet she isn’t too optimistic about it. She concludes, “It is highly likely this is not going to be positive for the wildcat population”.  

For cat lovers, this could be really worrying news. Read the entire report about Scottish wildcats getting functionally extinct here.

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Categories: News


One Response to “Wildcats in Scotland ‘functionally extinct’- A Major Study Concludes”

  1. Susan
    January 2nd, 2019 @ 3:02 pm

    Scottish Wildcat Action (SNH/FCS/RZSS) have only 2.6 per cent of Scotland within their Priority Area survey and in Stathbogie PA they didn’t find the Clashindarroch Cats! So over 97% of Scotland is unsurveyed by them. DNA test is also flawed. (PS the pic is definitely not a Scottish Wildcat)

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