A Scottish wildcat. Photo: Peter Cairns/northshots.com

A Scottish wildcat. Photo: Peter Cairns/northshots.com

Almost a million pounds of lottery cash will be spent trying to halt the decline in one of Scotland’s rare endangered species.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed a grant to a project aimed at stopping the extinction of the Scottish wildcat.

The ‘Highland tiger’ faces an uncertain future because of disease and interbreeding with domestic cats. Eight organisations will share the £973,100 cash boost in a project to reverse the species’ decline.

The wildcat was once numerous across the whole of mainland Britain but is now confined to the North of Scotland.

The Eight organisations including Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Royal Zoological Society and the Royal (Dick) Vet School, have formed a partnership to address the threats to the animal.

They will provide training in wildcat surveys and wildcat-friendly land management practices, and will involve schools, volunteers and community projects in learning about wildcats, and responsible domestic cat ownership.

The work will also co-ordinate neutering and vaccination of feral cats and will monitor the wild-living cat populations through an extensive network of trail cameras.

Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “We have some incredible native wildlife in Scotland but our species and habitats are under constant threat.

“We are delighted to see such a strong partnership working together for the good of this iconic Scottish species.

“We hope that with the Heritage Lottery Fund grant announced today, communities across the country will be inspired and empowered to safeguard the existence of these rare creatures.”

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