Wildwood is delighted to announce that our two female wildcat kittens have now gone on public display. The precious youngsters are exciting news for the conservation charity which works to save Britain's most threatened species.

 
The first of the two kittens, named Isla, was born at Wildwood and is now 14 weeks old. After being hand-reared by the Wildwood team from a newborn, she is surprisingly friendly towards humans, despite the species being famously impossible to tame.
The second kitten is around 20 weeks old, and has come to Wildwood from the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey.  Unlike Isla, she was reared by her mother and so displays more typical wildcat behaviour. Experts at Wildwood expect that once the two kittens are introduced, Isla will quickly forget her tame ways and become a truly wild wildcat, as nature intended.
The wildcat, Britain's rarest mammal, is critically endangered with less than 400 individuals appearing to remain in the wild the UK and barely a handful in the captive breeding population. Without urgent action scientists warn that they could become extinct in less than 10 years.
Wildcats have been pushed to the verge of extinction by persecution, habitat loss and inter-breeding (hybridisation) with domestic cats which is fast reducing the number of pure-bred animals in the wild. 
The new kittens at Wildwood will become part of a UK wide effort to prevent wildcats becoming extinct by boosting the UK's increasingly important captive pure-bred population which could prove to be the species' only hope for survival.
Wildwood's wildcat keeper, Sally Barnes said:
"It been such a privilege to raise this precious wildcat kitten, to nurse such an amazing animal and have the honour to protect such a rare creature has been the high point of my career. However, wildcats can never be tamed so we are now taking a more hands-off approach to allow the kittens to develop into true wildcats."
Peter Smith Wildwood Trust's Chief Executive said:
"Wildwood Trust has been working in collaboration with scientists and wildlife experts to help understand the problems of wildcat extinction and have been campaigning for their protection. Working with geneticist Dr Paul O'Donoghue of The University of Chester, Wildwood has been assisting in developing a genetic test to identify pure bred wildcats."
"If we are to rescue wildcats in the wild we must make a radical shift in land use in our wilderness and upland areas. Overgrazing by sheep and deer are the real cause of the loss of the Caledonian forest that is the main reason behind the wildcats' demise. A radical shift in abandoning subsidies to agriculture, shifting taxation onto land values and a change to land ownership laws are desperately needed if we are to protect these animals. One of the best things we can do to protect wildcats is to re-introduce Lynx back to the UK, lynx will disperse the unnaturally high concentrations of deer held by shooting estates in Scotland and allow the natural regeneration of the Caledonian forest."
The first of the two kittens, named Isla, was born at Wildwood and is now 14 weeks old. After being hand-reared by the Wildwood team from a newborn, she is surprisingly friendly towards humans, despite the species being famously impossible to tame.
The second kitten is around 20 weeks old, and has come to Wildwood from the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey.  Unlike Isla, she was reared by her mother and so displays more typical wildcat behaviour. Experts at Wildwood expect that once the two kittens are introduced, Isla will quickly forget her tame ways and become a truly wild wildcat, as nature intended.
The wildcat, Britain's rarest mammal, is critically endangered with less than 400 individuals appearing to remain in the wild the UK and barely a handful in the captive breeding population. Without urgent action scientists warn that they could become extinct in less than 10 years.
Wildcats have been pushed to the verge of extinction by persecution, habitat loss and inter-breeding (hybridisation) with domestic cats which is fast reducing the number of pure-bred animals in the wild. 
The new kittens at Wildwood will become part of a UK wide effort to prevent wildcats becoming extinct by boosting the UK's increasingly important captive pure-bred population which could prove to be the species' only hope for survival.
Wildwood's wildcat keeper, Sally Barnes said:
"It been such a privilege to raise this precious wildcat kitten, to nurse such an amazing animal and have the honour to protect such a rare creature has been the high point of my career. However, wildcats can never be tamed so we are now taking a more hands-off approach to allow the kittens to develop into true wildcats."
Peter Smith Wildwood Trust's Chief Executive said:

"If we are to rescue wildcats in the wild we must make a radical shift in land use in our wilderness and upland areas. Overgrazing by sheep and deer are the real cause of the loss of the Caledonian forest that is the main reason behind the wildcats' demise. A radical shift in abandoning subsidies to agriculture, shifting taxation onto land values and a change to land ownership laws are desperately needed if we are to protect these animals. One of the best things we can do to protect wildcats is to re-introduce Lynx back to the UK, lynx will disperse the unnaturally high concentrations of deer held by shooting estates in Scotland and allow the natural regeneration of the Caledonian forest."