IMAGE: Sian Addison

The wildcat (Felis silvestris) is one of Britain’s rarest and most threatened mammals. At RZSS we lead the Saving Wildcats partnership, which aims to prevent the extinction of the Highland tiger by breeding and releasing them into the wild.

RZSS has been involved with wildcat conservation for over 10 years and continues to play a critical role in long-term recovery efforts. Wildcats are the last remaining native cat species in Britain and have long been part of our cultural heritage in Scotland, with many clan crests featuring this iconic felid.

Highland Wildlife Park is home to the off-show Saving Wildcats conservation breeding for release centre which aims to secure the future of wildcats through releases of captive-bred individuals in the Cairngorms National Park. Once widespread, the species is now on the brink of extinction in Scotland due to habitat loss, persecution and interbreeding with domestic cats. Without urgent action, wildcats will be lost forever from our shores.

To help save the wildcat in Scotland we are working with local communities to understand how people can benefit from the presence of wildcats, continuing to remove the threats facing wildcats in the Highlands, and growing the population of wildcats through the releases of individuals into the wild.  

In June 2023 we released 19 wildcats from our breeding programme into the Cairngorms Connect area, this was the first release of its kind for Britain. We are monitoring these cats via GPS collars to track their progress in the wild while continuing to breed and rear a second group of cats for release. 

Our Partners

Project type

Conservation translocation icons

Conservation translocation

Conservation genetics icon

Conservation genetics

The team

David Barclay setting a camera trap in the Cairngorms

David Barclay

Conservation manager (ex-situ)

Dr Keri Langridge

Conservation manager (in-situ)

Helen Senn 2024

Dr Helen Senn

Head of conservation and science programmes

Jo Howard-McComb

Dr Jo Howard-McCombe

Research Scientist (RZSS WildGenes)

Ways you can help


IMAGE: Sian Addison

Sponsor a wildcat

Droma’s the confident one. Cranachan loves a chat. Fruin’s curious, if not downright nosy. Together, they are the best chance of saving wildcats in Scotland – with your support.

Which one will you sponsor?
Wildcat looking at camera

IMAGE: Saving Wildcats keeper

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