A conservation project is celebrating a profitable first breeding season with the delivery of twenty-two wildcat kittens.

It is hoped the animals, additionally dubbed the Highland Tiger, could possibly be among the many first of their species to be released into the wild in Britain.

Led by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), Saving Wildcats is working with national and worldwide experts to restore Scotland’s critically endangered wildcat population by breeding and releasing them into fastidiously selected places in the Cairngorms National Park.

Planning is under approach to launch the kittens, which have been born between April and August this year, into the Highlands in 2023.

David Barclay, Saving Wildcats conservation manager, said “These kittens are the future of wildcats in Scotland with decades of extensive research showing their species is highly likely to go extinct in Britain if we do not carry out releases.

“Our target for the first breeding season was 20 kittens, so to have 22 in just six litters is a huge success which gives us a great base for the next phase of the project.

“While human presence is kept to a minimum to give these cats the best possible chance of survival after release, our small team of expert keepers are able to monitor the kittens and their parents on remote cameras. It has been fantastic to watch them grow and develop over the summer.

“Once the kittens are fully independent and no longer reliant on their mums, they will move into special pre-release enclosures which are designed to help prepare them for the many challenges of life in the wild.”

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