England’s wildcats were declared extinct more than 150 years ago. But recently some great news regarding the species made the headlines as delicate felines are about to be reintroduced into the wild habits on United Kingdom.
This will be possible thanks to the conservationist Derek Gow. According to the Independent, the mammal reintroductions expert created a ‘wildcat breeding complex’ on his farm. At first, Derek says three wildcats families will step into the England’s wild habits. But in the near future, his goal is to breed more than 150 wildcats yearly.
“We’re hopefully releasing three litters of kittens into the complex this year, and then eight next year,” Mr. Gow told The Independent.
The wild cats were once roaming wide areas in the peninsula. Unfortunately, in 1860s the species was declared extinct.
“We’re aiming to get to the stage where we have a cat breeding population capable of producing 150 kittens a year. This should happen in three years and then we’ll start releasing them into the wild. I would like to have wild cats all over the UK,” Mr. Gow also declared.
Construction of Wildcat breeding complex for eventual return to England starts in forest above today. Hopefully will have 3 litters of kittens this year. pic.twitter.com/HQL5bWLl69
— Derek Gow (@gow_derek) May 22, 2019
“Wildcats were hunted ruthlessly in the past because they were a very effective predator,” Mr. Gow told the Independent. “In the middle ages, rabbits provided people with meat all year around and were a ready available source of fur. Wildcats were hunters of rabbits so people worked hard to kill them. Then after the industrial revolution the gamekeepers finished them off.”
Ben Goldsmith who is helping Derek Gow with the project, declared:
“Wildcats are a keystone species and an important predator in the system. If you lose predators from an ecosystem you create imbalance and ecosystems don’t function correctly.”
Fences taking shape. Ditch culverts in. More fencing coming down. Toilets next and caravans next week. Trepidation aside it’s going to look wonderful. We have decided to set one caravan next to the cat breeding pens so that the kittens playing in the evening can be viewed pic.twitter.com/91jL4bcFBe
— Derek Gow (@gow_derek) May 21, 2019