‘The loss of the tiger from the world would be an un­fath­omable tragedy. It could hap­pen in our life­time - the threats are there’ Track­ing the High­land Tiger in Search of Scot­tish Wild­cats

Scottish Field - - COVER TO COVER -

BY MAR­I­ANNE TAY­LOR BLOOMS­BURY WILDLIFE £16.99

For some­one who ini­tially had no par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in wild­cats, I fin­ished this book feel­ing mas­sively con­cerned for their wel­fare and vul­ner­a­bil­ity. Mar­i­anne Tay­lor delves into the fas­ci­nat­ing lives of Scot­tish wild­cats in her High­land jour­ney, dur­ing which she hopes to catch sight of th­ese elu­sive an­i­mals. They face alarm­ing en­dan­ger­ment so a need for their pro­tec­tion, par­tic­u­larly from the hy­bridi­s­a­tion that cur­rently threat­ens their ex­is­tence, is em­pha­sised through­out.

The au­thor draws par­al­lels with the av­er­age house­hold cat and ex­plains the his­tory of their do­mes­tic­ity so read­ers are pro­vided with an ac­ces­si­ble ac­count of the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the tame cat and its wild rel­a­tives. This com­par­i­son in­spires a fond­ness for the wild­cat, pro­mot­ing a con­cern for this tal­is­manic species’ po­ten­tial ex­tinc­tion.

Tay­lor takes us on this jour­ney with her, de­scrib­ing her aims, ac­tions and find­ings (or lack thereof) at each step. It is through this that we once again get a sense of the rar­ity of th­ese Scot­tish trea­sures.

The au­thor also dis­cusses the con­ser­va­tion plans and ac­tions put in place to re­verse the rapid de­cline of the Scot­tish wild­cat, of­fer­ing us hope that, against all odds, we might be able to pre­serve the High­land Tiger af­ter all. Ac­cord­ing to Tay­lor, ‘the loss of the tiger from the world would be an un­fath­omable tragedy. It could hap­pen in our life­time – the threats are there and very real.’

Tay­lor’s ex­per­tise is fur­ther com­ple­mented by her nat­u­rally agree­able style of sto­ry­telling, which in­forms while also en­ter­tain­ing. The com­bi­na­tion of her en­gag­ing and de­scrip­tive style makes this book an in­spir­ing and en­light­en­ing read.

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