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The European Wildcat
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The European Wildcat

Posted on
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Feb 25, 2015 by Administrator

The European Wildcat

The European wildcat (LatinFelis silvestris silvestris) is a subspecies of the wildcatthat inhabits European forests, as well as forested areas in Turkey and the Caucasus Mountains. It is absent in Scandinavia, and has been extirpated in England and Wales. Numbers in Scotland are critically low.

Predominantly nocturnal, the European wildcat is active in the daytime in the absence of human disturbance.

Populations in Scotland, the Mediterranean islands, Turkey, and Caucasus used to be considered separate wildcat subspecies and distinct from wildcats occuring on the European mainland.

In most European countries, European wildcats have become rare. Although legally protected, they are still shot by people mistaking them for feral cats. In the Scottish Highlands, where approximately 400 were thought to remain in the wild in 2004, interbreeding with feral cats is a significant threat to the wild population's distinctiveness. The greatest population of wildcats lives in Spain and Portugal but is threatened by interbreeding with feral cats and loss of habitat. In the 1990s, the easternmost population in UkraineMoldova, and the Caucasus was threatened by destruction of broad-leaved forests, entailing a reduction of their range. Only small numbers occur in protected areas.


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Archives


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