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Last Updated: Monday May 16 2011 04:41 GMT

Leah spots wildcats in the Scottish Highlands

Wildcat

Leah spots wildcats in Scotland

As part of her Wild Five series that's looking at UK animals in danger, Leah's been to the Scottish Highlands to see wildcats.

Years of hunting and breeding with domestic cats has dealt them a massive blow and now just 400 pure wildcats are left.


"The Highlands is home to the Scottish wildcat - a truly wild animal that's roamed around the vast landscape for millions of years.

First I wanted to get to grips with exactly what a wildcat was. And how they differ from the domestic cat. So first stop was the Highland Wildlife Park.

Wildcat
Highland Wildlife Zoo have 10 captive wildcats.

Wildcats are much bigger and bulkier than the cats that you have at home. They have unique markings on their fur but the real clincher is the tail. It's large and bushy with a blunt end. It looks like it's been dipped in black paint.

Next I wanted to track them down in their own habitat. Seeing a wildcat in the flesh in the wild is really rare so one of our best chances of catching one was on a camera.

Wildcat caught on camera in the wild
A camera strapped to a tree caught this snap as the wildcat walked past.

And over the space of three months I waited and waited until eventually these wild animals were caught on camera.

I didn't even know wildcats existed let alone living in Scotland. And while their numbers are low - the whole country is behind them to make sure they don't disappear forever."

Leah