Feline Aids risk to Morvern wildcats
THE endangered Scottish wildcat could be further threatened by a deadly virus known to cause the cat version of Aids, research has found.
Experts have isolated two cases of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) from cats with a mixed domestic-wildcat ancestry.
One of the cases was detected in an area that has been identified as a priority zone for wildcat conservation.
Although FIV is common in feral cats, these are the first known cases of the virus affecting hybrid cats in a wildcat priority area.
Wildlife experts from the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and National Museums Scotland made the discovery after carrying out post mortem examinations on 23 feral and hybrid cats from around Scotland.
A long-haired tabby found dead in a barn in Morvern in the Western Highlands was one of the animals to test positive for the virus. Morvern is one of six places identified by Scottish Wildcat Action last year as a priority area for wildcat conservation.