'Clashindarroch Beast' Caught on Camera in Scotland
Video of a large wildcat captured via camera trap by fieldworker Kev Bell was posted to Wildcat Haven's YouTube Channel yesterday.
"I've been fortunate to get footage of quite a few of these ghost cats; there's about 10 to 15 of them here in the Clashindarroch," Bell said in an interview with the BBC. "I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw this cat, he is enormous, a magnificent animal."
The wildcat measures over four feet long, and has been nicknamed the Clashindarroch Beast after the forest it calls home.
The footage was filmed as part of a project by Wildcat Haven to monitor feline activity in the West Highlands of Scotland.
"The cameras give us amazing insight to this priceless group of wildcats which have somehow survived here and avoided hybridization," Bell explained. "Some people say that the wildcat doesn't exist anymore but we know different and wildcats like 'The Beast' prove it."
The Wildcat Haven project involves neutering all feral and domestic cats across more than 1,000 miles of the Scottish Highlands to prevent interbreeding with wildcats.
While some fear that there are no genetically pure wildcats left in Scotland, Dr. Paul O'Donoghue, chief scientific advisor for Wildcat Haven, said that they believe there could be a population of around 13 pure wildcats in the area.
O'Donoghue remarked that the wildcat in the video looks to be in excellent condition, and is the largest specimen he's ever seen.