Endangered Scottish wildcat born at Chester Zoo happens to be ridiculously adorable

Written by on December 9, 2018 in Rare Critters - No comments

Only 100 remain in the wild.

But this little Scottish wildcat born at the Chester Zoo is doing her part to boost the ranks of the incredibly rare feline — at least in captivity.

“The female kitten is part of a breeding programme that is striving to save Britain’s rarest mammal from extinction,” the zoo said on Facebook. “As few as 100 wildcats – also known as the ‘Highland tiger’ – are estimated to remain in the UK.”

Tim Rowlands, the zoo’s curator of mammals, described the birth as “another lifeline for the species” facing extinction.

And maybe, just maybe, future generations could be reintroduced to the wild.

This kitten was born to parents Einich and Cromarty in August, Rowlands said, but the species is so elusive, the baby had not been caught on camera until now.

Scottish wildcat kitten is very kitten-like. Chester Zoo/Facebook

“It’s ever so special to see just how active the kitten already is and how she’s already starting to practise the skills that these magnificent, stealth hunters use to pounce on their prey,” Rowlands added.

The animals once thrived in Britain.

But they were hunted to near extinction for their fur, but also to stop them from taking down game birds.

Wildcats are protected by law, but they still face threats of disease, habitat loss and cross-breeding with domestic cats.

To further prevent the wildcats from becoming a little too house cat, zookeepers limit their contact with them.

And unlike domestic cat, which can have several litters a year, Scottish wildcats will have only one.  

That’s also why, according to the zoo, “every birth is really, really significant.”

There are only 100 Scottish wildcats left in the wild. Chester Zoo

Photos Chester Zoo

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About the Author

Dawn Walton

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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