NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

'Grumpy' wildcat caught in fox trap cage near Huntly

Wildcat in fox cage Image copyright Scottish Wildcat Action
Image caption Markings on the cat's fur identified it as a wildcat, said Scottish Wildcat Action

A Scottish wildcat got itself trapped in a cage set by a farmer to catch foxes.

The cat was released unharmed by a member of Scottish Wildcat Action (SWA), a project set up in an effort to better protect the rare animals.

The wildcat was caught in Clashindarroch Forest in Strathbogie, an area around Huntly.

SWA project officer Emma Rawling said the "beautiful cat" was sitting "grumpily" in the trap.

An examination of markings on the cat's fur identified it as being a wildcat and not a feral domestic cat.

'So fast'

Ms Rawling said the cat was released as quickly as possible to avoid causing it stress.

She said: "I have never seen a cat move so fast and cover so much ground in a single jump.

"Within seconds it disappeared into the surrounding forest where it lives."

Image copyright Scottish Wildcat Action
Image caption A photograph of a suspected wildcat taken near Dingwall by the Scottish Wildcat Action project

Earlier this year, SWA carried out what it described as the largest ever survey for Scottish wildcats.

The 60-day effort involved more than 300 cameras and more than 130 volunteers.

The effort focused on five of SWA's six priority areas - Strathpeffer, Strathbogie, Strathavon, North Strathspey and the Angus Glens.

Morvern is the project's other priority area.

In January, an image captured at a camera trap was believed to have shown a wildcat just several miles outside one of the largest towns in the Highlands.

The photograph was taken near Dingwall, about 14 miles (22km) north west of Inverness.

A hybrid, a cat with a mix of domestic and wildcat ancestry, was also photographed by the same camera.

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