The Wildwood Trust near Canterbury is celebrating the arrival of four extremely rare wildcat kittens.
Keepers are particularly pleased with how well first-time mum Jura is coping with her litter – the largest number bred to one mother at the charity.
Wildcat Keeper Jack Poncé said; “We are so proud of our lovely kittens, two girls and two boys who are now nine weeks old. Mum has kept them hidden until now, but we hope visitors can start to catch glimpses of these curious youngsters as mum lets them explore their woodland home”
Wildcats once roamed all over the UK, including Kent and the South East, but persecution and habitat destruction drove them north into their last refuges in the Scottish countryside. Wildcats are now classified as “functionally extinct” in the wild with numbers so low that new research has concluded there is “no longer a viable wildcat population living wild in Scotland”
Wildwood Director & Founder Peter Smith said: “This shocking news should spur everyone to call for the immediate reintroduction of wildcats and ensure enough land is rewilded to guarantee their survival.”
“After successful reintroductions & habitat protection wildcat numbers are expanding across Europe, once again Britain has been shown up to have one of the most damaged ecosystems in the world, immediate action is needed to rewild the UK and stop the wasteful misuse of our land and natural resources. “
Wildwood Trust is partnering with other organisations to call for wildcat reintroductions to be put in place after recent scientific analysis showed that this would give wildcats the best chance of survival.
Set in 40 acres of beautiful ancient woodland, Wildwood is home to over 200 native animals, past and present including bears, wolves, bison, deer, owls, foxes, red squirrels, wild boar, lynx, wild horses, badgers, beavers and more. For information on visiting go to www.wildwoodtrust.org
The wildcat kittens were caught on video by remote cameras at Wildwood Trust near Canterbury – a charity dedicated to the restoration of Britain’s lost wildlife.