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Last Updated: Tuesday February 19 2008 15:14 GMT

Scottish wildcat search starts

Scottish wildcat

A big search for Scottish wildcats has started - to try to work out just how many of the rare creatures are left.

The public are being urged to join countryside workers in reporting any sightings of the cats, which are mostly found in remote parts of Scotland.

The last survey was held 20 years ago, but a 1995 study suggested that there were about 3,500 wildcats aged more than five months in the country.

The creatures died out in England and Wales in the 1860s.

It's thought that cats can be found in Perthshire, Angus, Argyll and Lochaber, Grampian and the eastern Highlands.

The animals are mostly brown, with a black stripe along the back, black bands around the tail, and stripes on the neck and shoulders.

For more information on what to do if you see a Scottish wildcat, click on the Scottish Natural Hertage link on the top right of this page.

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