New Forest Wildlife Park Welcomes Back Critically Endangered Scottish Wildcats

April 17, 2024

The New Forest Wildlife Park is excited to announce the arrival of two new Scottish wildcats, brothers named Beinne and Halum. These magnificent felines join the park’s ongoing conservation efforts to support this critically endangered species.

The park’s previous wildcat residents had to be rehomed in February 2022 after a storm damaged their enclosure. Following this, Managing Director Ed Heap spearheaded the design of brand-new, state-of-the-art enclosures, built in-house by the park’s maintenance team.

Beinne and Halum, born at the Highland Wildlife Park in 2020, joined New Forest Wildlife Park in December 2023 and were homed in their new enclosure in April 2024.

“We’re thrilled to give Beinne and Halum a new home,” says Ed Heap “Scottish wildcats are an iconic British species on the brink of extinction.  By welcoming them back to the park, we can educate our visitors about the threats they face and the critical conservation work being done to save them.”

The Scottish wildcat, is a critically endangered species in the UK with a population believed to be lower than 100 individuals. Once widely distributed across the UK, the Scottish wildcat is now limited to northern and eastern Scotland.

The New Forest Wildlife Park is a proud partner of the Saving Wildcats initiative and actively participates in the European Studbook (EAZA EEP) for Scottish wildcats. Over the years, the park has celebrated the birth of 15 successful wildcat litters.

Senior Keeper, Lizzy Mcnamara explains the importance of these efforts, “Scottish wildcats have suffered from habitat loss and persecution. Also, the increasing hybridisation with domestic and feral cats means that the wild population can be considered functionally extinct and without urgent action, they will sadly become extinct. Captive breeding programs are vital to maintaining a healthy wildcat population and raising awareness about the species.”

Visitors to The New Forest Wildlife Park can now observe Beinne and Halum exploring their new home. The park encourages guests to learn more about these elusive felines and how they can support wildcat conservation.

For more information visit www.newforestwildlifepark.co.uk

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