Critically endangered wildcat kittens born in Scottish national park

Two wildcats released into a national park last year have given birth, marking a “major milestone” for wildcat recovery in Scotland, conservation experts have said.

Nineteen wildcats bred in captivity were released into the Cairngorms National Park last June as part of efforts to save the species which in 2018 was deemed to be on the verge of extinction.

The Saving Wildcats partnership, led by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said that at least two of the females have now given birth in the wild.

The project is working to restore Scotland’s critically endangered wildcat population by breeding and releasing them into the wild and mitigating threats to the species.

Of the 19 wildcats released in 2023, 16 are currently alive and are being monitored by the Saving Wildcats field team.

A further two are presumed to be alive and have dispersed beyond the range the team can track them while one female cat died five weeks after release.