Watch: Rare and elusive wildcat kittens caught on camera

Breeding female and her kittens were filmed near the Angus Glens.

Scotland’s rare and elusive wildcats have been caught on camera.

A breeding female and her litter of kittens were filmed near the Angus Glens.

The images were captured by Forestry & Land Scotland (FLS), which has been monitoring the cats’ activity since 2019 to ensure any forestry work does not disturb the animals.

The data also helps explain how wildcats use their habitat, and behaviours including mating, breeding and the relationship between food availability and litter size. 

European wildcats crossed from the continent into Britain at the end of the last Ice Age, around 9,000 years ago.

Once widespread, the species is now on the brink of extinction in Scotland with between 100 and 300 animals left in the wild.

Habitat loss, persecution and, more recently, breeding with domestic cats, has forced the species to a point where the population is no longer viable as pure-bred wildcats no longer exist.

The closest to ‘pure’ are part of a captive breeding programme managed by Saving Wildcats, but even these only have around 75 per cent wildcat DNA.

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