Friday 17 February 2023

40-60 wildcats to be released in Devon and Cornwall, UK

I am both surprised and pleased to read this story in The Times today. They are going to release European wildcats into parts of Devon and Cornwall in the UK. As I recall, the last wildcat in England was shot by a rich landowner in the middle of the 19th century. 

European wildcat
The European wildcat is very similar to the tabby domestic cat but a little larger and definitely fiercer! Image: in the public domain (believed).

Before that they were killed by hunters looking for their pelts. They were exterminated completely in England, Wales and Ireland but it is believed that around 200 remain in Scotland.

The problem with the Scottish population of wild cat is that it is probable that most if not all of them are hybrids being first-generation offspring from matings between a genuine, purebred wildcat and a feral cat or even a domestic cat wandering around outside as these two species can make quite freely. 

This is unsurprising because the domestic cat is a domesticated wildcat, specifically the North African wildcat.

So back to the rewilding. Like I said, I'm surprised because there's been talk about this for a long time and historically farmers dislike the rewilding of countryside with predators. Separately, there's a lot of talk about rewilding the New Forest (near the south coast of England) with lynx but the lynx is quite a lot bigger than the wildcat.

The wildcat preys on rodents and small mammals and of course birds. That won't please the ornithologists either.

As the title states, the plan is to introduce between 40 and 60 wildcat into parts of Devon and Cornwall which is in the south-west of England. It's very nice countryside down there. It is a place, if you live outside of the UK, where retired Londoners live.

The designated wildcats to be reintroduced have been bred by a conservationist and re-wilder whose name is Derek Gow. He has five breeding pairs of cats on his farm in Lifton, Devon which is 5 miles from Bodmin Moor.

The breeding wildcats were given to him by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. He is working with the charity to release dozens of them into coastal scrubland and dense forests.

Mr Gow, 57, said: "animals have a knock-on effect on the ecosystems and wildcat were a key part of that until they were hunted for their fur."

I hope they survive and that they are not persecuted.


  1. Didn't the UK just kill a bunch of cats with poison? This seams backwards to me.

    1. Are you referring to a cat killing criminal? If so, it is irrelevant. Only criminals kill cats in illegal ways in the UK. The rewilding of wildcats is a forward step for conservation and the ecosystem.


Your comments are always welcome.

Featured Post

i hate cats

i hate cats, no i hate f**k**g cats is what some people say when they dislike cats. But they nearly always don't explain why. It appe...

Popular posts