Join the legal fight to protect the Scottish Wildcat

by Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Join the legal fight to protect the Scottish Wildcat

by Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction
Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction
Case Owner
Wildcat Haven is a grass roots, community driven conservation project. We are the only conservation group focussed solely on saving the Scottish wildcat in the wild where it belongs.
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Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction
Case Owner
Wildcat Haven is a grass roots, community driven conservation project. We are the only conservation group focussed solely on saving the Scottish wildcat in the wild where it belongs.
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Latest: Dec. 24, 2021

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THANK YOU SO MUCH

We wanted to wish a very Merry Christmas to you and your families and also to say an enormous THANK YOU. This is for each and every one of you who has supported this crowdfunder. It is truly humbling…

Read more

The Scottish Wildcat is the rarest cat in the world; there are only 35 of them left on earth and they are in real danger of extinction. 

A third of these stunning animals live in the publicly owned Clashindarroch Forest in the Scottish Highlands, but they are in danger from logging by the Scottish Government’s Forestry and Land Scotland and by the construction of a windfarm by Vattenfall. 

If the destruction of their natural habitat doesn’t stop immediately, the wildcat will become extinct. We are launching legal action to protect this precious species and need your support. Please contribute now and share this page with your friends, family and on social media. 


Case Background

Wildcat Haven has worked to save the critically endangered Scottish wildcat for the last ten years, establishing threat free haven covering hundreds of square miles in the remote Scottish Highlands.

A huge threat facing wildcats is habitat loss, and nowhere is this clearer than Clashindarroch Forest in Aberdeenshire. At least 13 wildcats live in this forest; that's the largest single population known to exist and could represent as much as a third of the surviving population.

Clashindarroch is publicly owned, and we have been campaigning for its protection since learning that swathes of it are being clear-felled for timber, and planning applications are going in for a vast wind farm site covering a quarter of the forest. We are very much pro renewable energy, but of course it needs to be the right development at the right site. In this case it is totally wrong. 


The story has been widely covered in press like The Telegraph, Scotsman and Express, and shared extensively on social media, with a Change.org petition picking up over 500,000 signatures. 

Despite this widespread concern the logging continues, the wind planning goes ahead, and the Scottish Government refuse to even acknowledge the public outrage.

Clashindarroch must be protected, without it there is little evidence that the wildcat can avoid extinction, and the forest also provides a haven for many other endangered and rare species like red squirrel, goshawk and pine marten.


Our legal action 

It can be done, but we need your help to make it happen by bringing legal action to achieve the following;

  1. Enforce national and international protections of the wildcat.
  2. Establish special designation for the site so the forest can be conserved indefinitely.
  3. Stop wildcats being taken from the wild by the government to be put in zoos. 

This is the last stand for a beautiful creature which has survived centuries of persecution and intensive habitat loss; save Clashindarroch and there is clear hope for the future, but without it, the wildcat will almost certainly become extinct in Scotland.


How much we're raising and why

The legal cost of protecting this species is significant. Inititally we will be raising £7,500 to get the various strands of legal action off the ground. But then we need to go on to raise significantly more, potentially up to £100,000.

We will of course keep you updated with all progress in the case and any funds left over will go directly to the ongoing work of Wildcat Haven to protect this beautiful animal in the wild where it belongs. 

There is no time to lose; researchers in the forest have discovered that after a short hiatus whilst the story was in the press, logging has resumed; they are clearing and felling parts of a documented wildcat territory as you read this.

Please help us; donate, share, and follow the campaign at www.facebook.com/ScottishWildcatHaven

THANK YOU!

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Update 9

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 24, 2021

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THANK YOU SO MUCH

We wanted to wish a very Merry Christmas to you and your families and also to say an enormous THANK YOU. This is for each and every one of you who has supported this crowdfunder. It is truly humbling to know that you are all behind us in this fight and it is a fight we must win. The future existence of the Scottish wildcat is at stake but we are confident that with your help we can save it. 

Our whole team is exhausted but happy with the progress we have made. We are going to rest for few days as we hope you all do too and we will be in touch soon, with the plans and milestones for the year ahead. It is going to be crucial one.

Once again we really appreciate your support, you have been a real inspiration and motivation to us all.

Have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas

The Wildcat Haven Team

Update 8

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 17, 2021

A VIDEO FROM THE FRONT LINE OF THE CAMPAIGN

We are working flat out to meet a deadline today, to deliver the latest batch of written submissions to the Inquiry. It’s going well, our team of legal, ecological and wildcat specialists are all working together. To really show you the importance of what is at stake, we want to show you a video taken by our Director, Dr Paul O’Donoghue. It is from a recent visit to the site of the first windfarm built in the Clashindarroch forest, in 2015. This was before we began our work here. 

As you will see, this was not a case of just popping windmills into forest gaps. It was not done sensitively, it was simply the destruction of an enormous area of forest which would have devastated wildcat territories. It was utterly depressing to see a moonscape, an ecological desert, that even after 6 years looks like a huge scar on the landscape and is clearly not a useable space for wildlife. It is also serviced by a small army of people who all have to drive through the forest and they even have permanent bases where they can stay overnight. Basically what was once thick forest and prime wildcat habitat, is now an industrialised landscape. You can see the video here:

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news

Like all of you who support us, we are passionate about reducing climate change and committed to sustainable living. We have stated numerous times before and as our Director states again here, we are pro renewable energy. However this cannot be at all costs, it cannot be reckless or without thought. It certainly cannot be at the expense of the future survival of an entire species, an iconic Scottish animal that epitomises the wild. It has to be the right development at the right place.  There are literally hundreds of bare hills in Scotland that provide far more suitable sites for a windfarm than the Clashindarroch forest. The risks are just too great. As you will see by the video, the stakes are high, as safeguarding the safety of the most important wildcat population in existence, depends on the success of our campaign. We cannot fail and so if you want to support our legal challenge please visit:

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/wildcats/

Many thanks as always 

The Wildcat Haven Team

 

Update 7

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 13, 2021

A MUST READ- WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS AND DIRTY TRICKS

As promised, here is an update about the Pre inquiry meeting we had last week. We are on track and have met all deadlines to date. This includes the lodging of written submissions, which detail the objections we have, the legislative frameworks and case law we will rely on, as well as the concerns we have about the Environmental Impact assessment (EIA) carried out by Vattenfall, regarding wildcats. Their efforts on the EIA in this area are truly woeful. The meeting has also now given us the opportunity to submit further technical points and to expand on our areas of concern. We welcome this opportunity and this is the focus for our legal and ecological advisors this week.

You can see the Written submissions document at the link below. Just click on the link and then click the ‘open document’ tab and you will see it. This is a 40 page document and is now on the record and will be considered by the Inquiry. It is a comprehensive body of work and it’s important to us, to show you exactly what the funds you have donated to us are used for. This is very serious stuff.

https://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/Document.aspx?id=811505

As we move through this process, it is becoming clearer and clearer that Vattenfall and their representatives will use every dirty trick in the book, to try and push through this development. Whilst they have provided us with some data ( after a 2 year delay ), the dataset is heavily redacted and for example, does not show any accurate location data. This of course prevents full scrutiny which is exactly what Vattenfall are trying to do. They are trying to make us sign a Non Disclosure Agreement before they release the full data set. This may at first seem reasonable, until you discover that they are only willing to release the data, with the condition that our main Wildcat Biologist can’t have access to it. You couldn’t make it up. They really are shameless and they even tried to influence the Inquiry that the delay in releasing data was due to us not signing the NDA. Rest assured, we put the record straight that the NDA proposed by Vattenfall in its current form is beyond ridiculous and just another attempt to delay, withhold data and avoid scrutiny by a Wildcat expert.

It is clear that Vattenfall, a company owned entirely by the Swedish Government are treating the Scottish wildcat with utter contempt and disrespect. However, with ever dirty trick, with every attempt to manipulate the Inquiry, our resolve grows and our determination increases. It has to, as this is a fight to save the Scottish wildcat from extinction in the wild.

We will see this through to the bitter end and continue to work flatout to save the Clashindarroch and it’s precious wildcats. You are so grateful for your help so far. If you want to continue supporting our work you can do so at: 

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/wildcats/

We will publish our further technical submissions in due course.

Many thanks as always

The Wildcat Haven Team

Update 6

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 7, 2021

BIG WEEK AHEAD- PROCEDURAL INQUIRY HEARING TOMORROW

We have a very big week ahead as we move through the process for the Public Inquiry about the Clashindarroch windfarm. This Wednesday afternoon our team will attend a second procedural meeting for the public inquiry, in preparation for the February sessions.

The purpose of tomorrow’s meeting is to check parties are on track to present their evidence to the Reporter in Feb sessions. You will be aware that last week we lodged written submission providing detailed overview and explanation of legal and ecological concerns. The headline points we made were as follows:

1. The Clashindarroch forest contains the highest density of wildcats anywhere in Scotland.

2. The proposed windfarm development will be devastating for this population and directly threaten 20% of the remaining world population.

3. The Clashindarroch forest is of National and International importance and should be protected.

At every stage of this process, Vattenfall, a company owned solely by the Swedish Government, have attempted to deflect away from the wildcat concerns. They have withheld crucial data in order to minimise scrutiny, and they have delayed the release of data to try and limit our preparations. It is abundantly clear that they don’t want an inquiry session about wildcats. 

However, despite all their dirty tactics, we are completely on track and fully prepared for what lies ahead. We will ensure that yours and our grave concerns are heard, and that crucially, the wildcats get a voice.

As we always do we will keep you fully updated. If you want to continue supporting our legal campaign to save the Clashindarroch Wildcats, then you can do so at;

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/wildcats/

Many thanks as always, we can’t win this without you, 

Update 5

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Nov. 29, 2021

UP TO 20% OF THE WORLD POPUULATION AT STAKE- A MUST READ

This is a very important time for us all. Today we will be lodging our written submissions for the public Inquiry about the windfarm, due to take place in late February 2022. This submission will form the basis of our objections.

As we have informed you, it was crucial to our preparations that we received access to the Confidential annexes held by Vattenfall, the company who are solely owned by the Swedish government, who are putting forward the windfarm proposal. We had tried to get the information for 18 months and they only released it to us after they were forced to and they did so at the 11th hour. This was clearly because they knew how damaging the data held within these annexes would be and it was a delaying tactic, to hinder our preparations for this case. Well we have worked tirelessly since receiving these annexes and have put together what we believe to be an extremely compelling case for the wildcat, that is founded in empirical data, scientific references, and case law.  

We are extremely lucky to work with exceptional ecologists who are highly experienced in this field and they have been scrutinising and analysing the data contained in the annexes. The findings are unambiguous and remarkable. As Wildcat Haven has stated all along, the Clashindarroch is the most important site for wildcats in Scotland. Well, the data has now confirmed this beyond any doubt and shows that the Clashindarroch contains the highest density of wildcats anywhere in Scotland. This makes the whole forest of National and indeed International importance. Secondly, we have been able to assess the impact that the proposed windfarm would have on this windfarm. The analysis demonstrates that 5 or 6 wildcat territories will be directly impacted by this windfarm. To put this in context, with estimates as low as 30 wildcats left in the wild, that amounts to up to 20% of the world population being threatened by this development. This doesn't include the other potential impacts on more wildcat territories through noise, disturbance and the displacement of animals. It is clearly not exaggerating to say that if this windfarm goes ahead, it could facilitate the extinction of the Scottish wildcat in the wild. 

The key point to make here is that Vattenfall, who claim to be a 'green' organisation, submitted their application with the full knowledge of the Scottish wildcat population they would be damaging. Indeed, they tried to conceal this information. The Forestry Commission Scotland, now called (FLS), who own the Clashindarroch and are actually partners on the government's so called 'Saving Wildcats' project, also had full access to this data and were happy to allow wildcat territories on their land be clear felled. The government organisation called 'Saving wildcats' (don't worry the irony of this name hasn't escaped us), have received millions of pounds in taxpayers' money and their remit is to apparently save the wildcats. Unbelievably, they actually collected the data held in the annexes, yet they stand by and not only refuse to object to this development, but they have been used as a cover for it, up until now. 

All this tells a sorry story of betrayal of the wildcat, by the very people who are paid by taxpayers to save it. When the time is right and this inquiry is over, rest assured that those individuals who have hidden behind government desks, telling lies, withholding information and standing by whilst the wildcat is put in danger, will all be held to account. This is vital to ensure that this situation never happens again.

For now of course, our sole focus remains on stopping this windfarm and the data speaks for itself. Surely the Scottish government cannot allow the development of a windfarm on a site that would devastate up to 20% of its most endangered and iconic animal- the magnificent Scottish wildcat.

We are in a strong position thanks only to your support, we simply could not afford to mount this legal challenge without you. If you feel you can contribute to our efforts, then please visit.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/wildcats/

Please share the link above as widely as you can

Sincere thanks as always.

The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay

Update 4

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Nov. 22, 2021

TAKING THE FIGHT TO VATTENFALL

Last week was extremely important for us.. Members of our team have been in Sweden to start laying the foundations for an extensive awareness raising campaign over there. The reason for this is simple. Vattenfall is a company owned entirely by the Swedish government and their headquarters are in Stockholm. As we all know, the Swedish people are well known for their awareness of environmental issues and being proactive in attempting to live in a sustainable way. I wonder how many of them know that their own government is trying to push through a development that could lead to the extinction of the wildcat. Would Vattenfall try and push through a development in Sweden, if it could lead to the extinction of one of their own iconic species? We all know the answers to that question is NO.


Therefore we have been in touch with and met with a range of environmental groups in Sweden to put in the place the foundations for a media campaign and a series of events in Stockholm. We are hugely encouraged by the response so far and our plans have been met with great enthusiasm.


Let us be clear, at every point we have given Vattenfall the opportunity to do the right thing and move this development to a more appropriate site. We have personally met they Senior project team at their Edinburgh offices. All we got was fake smiles and false promises. All the while they knew that the data held in their possession confirmed that there is an extensive population of wildcats on their proposed development site. Before we came to Sweden we contacted senior people in the Stockholm office including their Vice President of the Environment. You would of course expect someone in such a role to be open to discussion. But no, they have refused to meet, refused to facilitate a meeting with Anna Borg ( the CEO of Vattenfall) and worst of all, suggested we contact the Scottish project team, the very same people who have tried to smother the wildcat data.

From our experience, Vattenfall is behaving like any large, multi national Corporation, whose employees hide behind management structures and shift the responsibility. This is just not acceptable, particularly when the fate of the rarest cat in the world is at stake. 


We have been extremely reasonable, but now it is time to bring the fight to Vattenfall’s back yard. We are very confident that the people of Sweden will get behind us and that Vattenfall, will face up to this issue and do the right thing. We have politely asked them, but now we must make them.


It is vital that we build as much capacity as possible in Sweden, so if there are any Swedes who are interesting in helping us with this campaign, then please do email us at:


admin@wildcathaven.co.uk


Hopefully you can all see that we are doing everything humanly possible to save the Clashindarroch wildcats. We are fighting on every front. We are working flat out and are more motivated than ever in our mission.
If you want to help us further then please visit:


https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/wildcats/

 

As always we will keep you fully updated on developments Interesting times. 


All the best
The Wildcat Haven Team

 
Update 3

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Nov. 15, 2021

WINNING FOR THE WILDCAT- A MUST READ

Last week, we had a huge breakthrough in our campaign to stop the windfarm in the Clashindarroch. As you know we have been trying for 2 years to get the information contained in the Confidential Annexes of the Environmental Impact Assessment carried out by Vattenfall, so it could be properly scrutinised by our wildcat experts. Vattenfall (a company owned by the Swedish Government) have literally tried everything they could to prevent us from getting access to this key information. Of course, the more they tried to retain the information, the more we suspected that they had something to hide and the more determined our team became to get it.
After a huge amount  of work by our legal team, and with clear instruction from the Public Inquiry, Vattenfall have finally had no choice but to release the data to us.  
We received it yesterday and we now know exactly why they didn't want to us to get. It is game changing, transformational. The survey data we have received confirms exactly what we had known all along (and what our own data shows), that there is a significant population of Scottish wildcats in the Clashindarroch and that their presence is found throughout the whole forest. They have confirmed what we have been saying, that this truly is a 'Wildcat Wonderland'. Going further and even more damning, is the fact that they have even found wildcats on the exact site for the proposed new windfarm development. There can be no doubt now that this industrial development will severely and negatively impact this wildcat population and their habitat.
We are feeling a little strange. We are delighted that we now have the ammunition to provide the strongest possible objection to this windfarm, but this is tinged with disbelief. We are simply astounded by the level of disrespect and contempt shown towards the Scottish wildcat by Vattenfall, the Government agencies and all those associated with this development. It is now abundantly clear that they were more than happy to destroy this site which is critical to the future survival of the Scottish wildcat.
This is the rarest cat in the world, it is critically endangered, it is a truly iconic Scottish species. What is worse is that the Scottish government is fully aware of this data and yet their statutory agency, Nature Scot, publicly stated that they did not object to this windfarm development. This is despite the fact that the data we now have, shows that Nature Scot staff have found multiple wildcats there. They were literally happy to throw the wildcat under the bus. How can people charged with protecting the wildcat, turn their back on it and take their salaries? It is disgusting – and all this is at a time when the Scottish government is holding COP26.  You really couldn't make it up. We will reveal more information once we digest everything, but we wanted to inform you of this development straight away. 
Three things are abundantly clear:
1. This data was never supposed to see the light of day. It was hidden in confidential annexes and protected by expensive lawyers, QC's, senior management teams and government red tape. We agree that genuinely sensitive information should be protected. But as most of this information has now been forced to be released to the public domain, it raises obvious questions that elements were never justified to have been kept from public view in the first place. 
2. If Wildcat Haven didn't exist, then this development would go ahead without any other conservation body in the whole of Scotland objecting to it. The wildcat would have no voice at all.
3. We simply wouldn't have got this far without your support. It is abundantly clear that everyone trying to push through this development, is fully aware of the support you are giving us and that we will see this through til the end. Each and every one of you has made a huge difference.
We are now in the best position possible to present what we believe will be an overwhelmingly compelling case to stop this development, on the grounds of it's potentially devastating impact on the future survival of the Scottish wildcat. It is only because you have supported us and given generously that we have got this far. There is still a lot of work to do in the run up to the Public Inquiry hearing at the end of February and we need to be fully resourced so we can take this all the way to Judicial Review, if we need to. We are doing well and have reached 80 percent of our target so far. 
If you feel you can help us further then please visit:



Seriously, you guys have been amazing, so from the bottom of our hearts and on behalf of all those beautiful wildcat in the Clashindarroch, THANK YOU.
All the best as always


The Wildcat Haven Team
Update 2

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Oct. 27, 2021

SAVING THE LAST SCOTTISH WILDCATS- CRUCIAL TIME AHEAD

First of all many thanks to all of our supporters so far, and a very warm welcome to those of you who are new to this case.  We are entering a crucial time and wanted to give you an overview of where we are up to and the next steps.

For context, the Scottish Wildcat is the rarest cat in the world with only 35 remaining. This makes it the rarest cat on earth and 70 times rarer than the giant panda. Wildcat Haven is the only group focussing solely on its survival in the wild. 

Around 13 wildcats are found in the Clashindarroch Forest in Aberdeenshire, making it the most important site remaining for this Critically endangered species. The Scottish government own the Clashindarroch forest and you would of course expect them to protect this precious forest and its iconic wildcats. However, the reality is that they are actually collaborating with Vattenfall ( a company owned by the Swedish Government) to develop windfarms on the site. Such development requires large scale forest clearance, the construction of roads, the laying of miles of cabling etc. In short it leads to extensive disturbance. Wildcats are incredibly vulnerable to disturbance so this would be disastrous and could lead to their extinction at this site and ultimately towards their complete extinction in the wild. For clarity let us state that we are very much pro renewable energy, but of course it needs to be the right development at the right site. In this case it is totally wrong. 


As well as the windfarm development we have also collected evidence that the Scottish government are actively logging the site for timber and we have caught them logging during the breeding season, which can lead to female wildcats abandoning their young.

As we all the know, the Scottish government are shortly hosting COO26 and claim to be committed to promoting biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. There are endless interviews given about this and yet the reality is that in the case of the Scottish wildcat, they are currently causing the extinction of their most iconic animal. 


We are fighting on multiple fronts to save the Clashindarroch and are currently involved in a public Inquiry to stop the windfarm plans. The Inquiry hearing will take place in late February 2022 so time is short and we have a massive amount of work to do. 


Our legal team is also pushing the government to give the Clashindarroch protected status and to designate it as a SSSI. This would provide the protection needed for the wildcats to thrive.

Our team is made up of a specialist Environmental law firm (Living Law), who are supported by a range of biologists and ecologists with specialist experience and knowledge. 


We need to win this battle and protect the Clashindarroch and its precious population of Scottish Wildcats forever. We need to reach our target ( we are two thirds of the way there), so that we are able to take this case all the way to Judicial review if required. We can't do this without your continuing support so thank you so much, the future of the Scottish wildcat depends on it. 


Very best wishes as always

The Wildcat Haven Team


Update 1

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Oct. 25, 2021

HUGE COUPLE OF WEEKS AHEAD

Hi Everyone

First of all thank you so much for all your support and already enabling us to reach two thirds of out 100k target. As you have hopefully seen in our email updates, these funds are currently being used to hold Vattenfall to account in the upcoming Public Inquiry where we will hopefully be able to stop the planned windfarm.

As you will all be aware, COP26 is starting very soon and we hope to take this opportunity to highlight this case in the media.  We want to announce that our target has been hit and they we are able to challenge this development all the way to a Judicial Review if necessary. We are up against a massive company, Vattenfall, which is owned by the Swedish Government. They have extremely deep pockets and have employed the services of a large law firm and a senior QC to push this development through. 

With your continued support we can win this fight. We simply have to as the future of the magnificent Scottish Wildcat depends on it. We cannot allow their most significant forest home to be deforested and industrialised for a windfarm, that could easily be sited elsewhere (we are of course pro renewables as long as they are the right development in the right place). 

If you can donate to our ongoing legal challenge then we would be very grateful. Also please do share this link as widely as possible and let's give the Scottish wildcat the loudest voice we can.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/wildcats/

Many thanks

The Wildcat Haven Team,

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