Wildlife: Experts split on DNA purity
A wildlife organisation’s claims that it rescued a wildcat kitten on an Aberdeenshire farm have been thrown into doubt.
Highlands-based Wildcat Haven said the underweight feline was trapped by a Huntly farmer after it ate his chickens.
Its members took the cat to a rescue centre, and plan to release it in spring.
Wildcat Haven’s Steve Sleigh said: “I had no idea what to expect but as soon as I saw her I knew she was a wildcat kitten, with a thick blunt tail, perfect dorsal stripe marking and ferocious personality.”
She is the third such kitten rescued by the group this year.
Their chief scientific adviser Paul O’Donoghue said: “There’s no question that these kittens will all return to the wild.
“We hope the male may bond with the new kitten, so they could be released into adjoining territories, enhancing the chances of them breeding healthy new kittens out in the wild.”
However, wildlife experts say no proof has been offered that any of these animals are true wildcats.
A spokesman for conservation group Scottish Wildcat Action said: “We note that a wildcat interest group is claiming to have discovered a Scottish wildcat kitten.
“It is not possible to confidently identify a wildcat kitten from that of a domestic tabby cat by physical appearance alone.
“As this cat is being held, there’s no reason not to carry out a genetic test.
“Without this, it cannot be assumed that this kitten is a Scottish wildcat.”