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
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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 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: Feb. 8, 2024

JUDGEMENT UPDATE

It is with deep sadness and concern that we have to inform you that our Judicial Review was not successful. We are naturally very disappointed with the outcome of this petition to the Court of Sessio…

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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

We will 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 75

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 8, 2024

JUDGEMENT UPDATE

It is with deep sadness and concern that we have to inform you that our Judicial Review was not successful. We are naturally very disappointed with the outcome of this petition to the Court of Session, as protecting wildcats at Clashindarroch Forest is such a critical part of the conservation work we do.

We of course respect the Judge’s decision.  We are reviewing the decision in detail with our legal team, and will then consider our next steps.

We know there are so many of you who share our serious concerns about the effect of this proposed development on wildcats at Clashindarroch, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported our work to date.

Hopefully you will understand why we can't comment further at this stage. 

Many thanks as always

The Wildcat Haven Team


Update 74

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 6, 2024

CLASHINDARROCH UPDATE- A MUST READ

We of course want to update you on the recent Judicial Review and our efforts to save the Clashindarroch wildcats. The hearing occurred as planned on the 18th January. Our legal team on one side and on the other side, legal teams for both Vattenfall and the Scottish Ministers. Prior to the hearing all parties had lodged written submissions, and this hearing was to present the case to the Judge.


As you will fully appreciate, the Judge has been deliberating the case and so we have not been able to say too much about the proceedings or the case. This is out of respect for the court. We really hope that you understand.


The main thing is that we are still in the fight and the Clashindarroch wildcats still have a voice. That is thanks to your ongoing support. We await the decision and have been informed today that the judgement is scheduled to come out on Thursday morning this week, at around 10am. You will be immediately informed as soon as we know anything. There is so much at stake here.


We maintain our position that this is simply the wrong development at the wrong site and that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of bare, treeless hills covering vast swathes of Scotland, that could be used as alternative sites. Development of the Clashindarroch can and should be avoided.


Keep watching and we will update you whenever we hear anything. 

Very best wishes as always

The Wildcat Haven Team.

Update 73

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Jan. 16, 2024

FACE TO FACE WITH A CLASHINDARROCH WILDCAT

A huge week is upon us and the Judicial Review hearing will start at 10 am UK time, on the 18th January, so just two days away. We are thoroughly prepared, have an excellent legal team in place and so we are ready to speak up on behalf of the Scottish Wildcat. It simply makes no sense that the home of the most endangered feline in the world, can be destroyed for a windfarm that can be situated elsewhere, on one of the multitudes of bare, treeless hills across Scotland.

We are constantly monitoring the Clashindarroch for logging activity but also of course detecting wildcats. Cameras are set in strategic places and left for months to record any wildcat that passes. We are absolutely thrilled to show you this beautiful footage of a wildcat we caught on camera, right in the heart of the Clashindarroch. As it comes towards the camera you can see the blunt tail, the dorsal stripe, nape stripes and there is there no white patch on the chest. It is a real beauty. What a privilege to be face to face with such an incredible animal, going about its business in the forest home where it belongs. We think this a fully mature male, you can see the swagger as it approaches the camera and the broad head. Just awesome.

This is why we fight; this is why we won’t give up and we thank each and every one of you for your unwavering support.

This wildcat and the others that inhabit the Clashindarroch, deserve the right to live and breed in peace.

We really hope you enjoy the video and that inspires you, as it does us. You can watch it here:

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news/face-to-face-with-a-clashindarroch-wildcat

 We will of course keep you posted on what is a milestone week for the Scottish Wildcat

Many thanks as always.

Emily and the whole Wildcat Haven Team 

Update 72

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Jan. 8, 2024

FRONT PAGE NEWS- A MUST READ

We are delighted to tell you that our legal challenge to the Clashindaroch windfarm, has made front page news in one of Scotland’s biggest newspapers. It is the top story in The Herald as you can see in the image above. It is also featured online and you can read the story here:


https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/24031448.scottish-wildcats-aberdeen-wind-farm-decision-goes-judicial-review/


The story is already spreading widely and we have a busy afternoon of interviews ahead.

The voice of the wildcat is growing and surely given the public outcry, Vattenfall who are the Swedish owned developers, should withdraw from this site. The price in terms of the potentially catastrophic impact on the Scottish wildcat, is simply too high to pay for a windfarm that can be built on a bare hill elsewhere.

More news to follow shortly but this a big milestone. The interest and the pressure on Vattenfall and the Ministers who signed this off, will mount as we move towards the imminent Judicial Review court hearing on the 18th January.

Rest assured we will be putting all our efforts into presenting the best case possible and thanks to your generosity, we are supported by a highly experienced legal team.

Please share this story and this petition as widely as you can.

More news to follow very soon.

Thanks as always

The Wildcat Haven Team.

Update 71

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 27, 2023

WHAT AN AMAZING YEAR!!!!

We hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and are having a peaceful time. We have been reflecting on what has been amazing year. It has gone so quickly and there have been numerous highlights, but one message keeps jumping out at us and it is this: THE SCOTTISH WILDCAT IS NOT FUNCTIONALLY EXTINCT


Over the last 12 months we have recorded at least ten new wildcats in Aberdeenshire alone and that is in addition to the Clashindarroch population and the wildcats in our first Wildcat Haven area on the West coast. Scottish Wildcats still roam the forests of Scotland and crucially they are breeding. We have all delighted in watching the family of wildcats which have taught us so much about wildcat biology. The story of the kittens made the National press and helped to raise huge awareness that the wildcat still breeds in the wild. 


But perhaps this Wildcat family’s most important message of all, is that they are telling us; Not to give up. Not to forget about them. Not to cage them. Not to betray them. Not to stop fighting for them. It is a message that we have received loud and clear. All three kittens have survived and hopefully the 2 female kittens will go on to raise offspring of their own in the coming year. It promises to be another exhilarating year ahead and rest assured, we are ready and raring to go.

We have put together a compilation of some of the kitten highlights. We hope that you enjoy it. You can watch it here:


https://www.wildcathaven.com/news/what-an-amazing-year


We continue to be the only organisation focussed solely on protecting the wildcat in the wild where it belongs and can only do so with your continuing support. We have a massive year ahead. 

Many thanks as always 

Very best wishes

Emily and the whole Wildcat Haven Team 

Update 70

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 24, 2023

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THANK YOU

We want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. We hope you all have a peaceful and enjoyable time.


A massive thanks to each and every one of you who has supported our work. Without you, we simply could not continue to save the magnificent Scottish Wildcat, in the wild where it belongs.


Whilst we all sit down to our Christmas dinners and relax, give a thought to those special wildcats that still roam the wilds of Scotland and make the Highlands feel alive.


We have a massive year coming up so keep watching as we have a number of important updates on all fronts.


Your continuing support will be vital.


Have a wonderful festive period and sincere thanks once again.

Emily and the whole Wildcat Haven Team

Update 69

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 22, 2023

SUPERDAD-SIMPLY MAGNIFICNENT

We hope you are all getting ready for a wonderful Christmas. We just have to show you this incredible footage of Superdad. He is certainly the boss. Look at the way he suddenly stops and stares, frozen motionless in time. He is simply magnificent and has taught us so much about the secret family life of the Scottish wildcat. Even more importantly, all three kittens have survived and that is in no small part due to Superdad. There are now three more Scottish wildcats living freely in the wild. Imagine how many other kittens have made it that we simply haven’t captured on camera.


Do not believe the false narrative that wildcats no longer exist in the wild. We have shown you numerous ‘new’ wildcats that we have found in Aberdeenshire alone. Apparently all these wildcats, plus Superdad and his family, aren’t supposed to exist. Someone clearly forgot to tell them!!!!!


In the meantime, thanks to the support of each and everyone of you, we will continue to fight for and save the majestic Scottish wildcat, in the wild where it belongs.


Enjoy this video and rejoice in the fact that animals like Superdad still roam the remote forests of Scotland as they have done so for millennia.


Here is the link to the video:


https://www.wildcathaven.com/news/superdad-simply-magnificnent


Thanks as always

Emily and the whole Wildcat Haven Team.

Update 68

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 20, 2023

CLASHINDARROCH UPDATE- VATTENFALL UNDER INVESTIGATION

We wanted you all to know that because of the operational/logging activity our field worker recently documented, Vattenfall are now under Investigation by Aberdeenshire council. This has only happened because we are supported by an excellent legal team (funded by you), who formally raised the issue with the enforcement body.


If the breaches are confirmed, this is potentially extremely significant and damaging to Vattenfall. Even more importantly, we are regularly monitoring the site and on our most recent visit, all work had stopped. Disturbance is of course damaging at any time of the year, but the breeding season is now upon us and so it is essential that the precious wildcats have the chance to mate and the females have the opportunity to select safe and secure dens sites for their kittens.  However, rest assured we will remain vigilant for signs of work across the whole forest.


Keep in mind that Vattenfall are an entirely Swedish owned, multi billion pound company so we take the fact that all work has stopped and that they are now under investigation, as big wins. However, there is still a huge battle ahead. The hearing for our Judicial Review is on the 18th January, so less than 4 weeks away. We will be putting every possible effort into our legal challenge and we will keep fighting for those innocent and magnificent wildcats that call the Clashindarroch Forest their home. Surely it isn’t too much to ask, to allow them to live and breed in peace.


We know many of you have generously supported our legal crowdfunder before and we have fighting for 4 years. The total amount listed on the page represents the total amount raised over the whole 4 years, not the remaining balance which is of course hugely less. You can see in this email just how effective and invaluable those legal funds are.  Our aim is to ensure that we have the funds to see this through right to the end and can employ the services of the very best lawyers and barristers. This is the very least that these wildcats deserve. So, if you can help then please keep supporting. We really need and appreciate it. 


Also, a massive thanks to all of you who wrote to King Charles. We know that he has received letters from all over the world. Please do let us know if you get a response. We really hope he will get involved.


Thanks as always.

Emily and the Wildcat Haven Team

Update 67

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 14, 2023

ADOPT A SCOTTISH WILDCAT - A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS GIFT

Hi All

Massive thanks to all of you who have emailed King Charles on our behalf. We really appreciate it. Your letters are just the right tone; courteous and heartfelt, but with a strong message. Let's all hope that His Majesty responds. 


Meanwhile there is less than 2 weeks to go until Christmas and so we wanted to inform all our supporters on here, about our Wildcat Adoption gift packs. If you are looking for a thoughtful gift for someone special this Christmas, then please consider adopting a Scottish wildcat. We raise most of our project funds for the whole year in the run up to Christmas and those funds are needed more than ever.  


Please visit:


https://www.wildcathaven.com/adoption-packs


The adoption packs cost £27, equivalent to $32 USD. As you go through the online process you can nominate whose name you want on the gift certificate. The pack can either be delivered to you, so that you can give the gift pack in person, or it can be delivered directly to the intended recipient. We deliver to most countries.  

The adoption pack contains the following:

1. A personalised certificate

2. A wildcat print

3. A wildcat pin badge

4. Information about the Scottish wildcat

5. The knowledge that you are helping save this beautiful wild animal


If you have any questions then please email us at [email protected] 


We really appreciate your support and we will have more updates coming very soon

Many thanks in advance

Emily and the Wildcat Haven Team

Update 66

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 13, 2023

SHEER KITTEN EXUBERANCE

Wow what a response we have from you all about writing to King Charles. So many of you have sent us copies of the letters you posted. They are polite, compelling and heartfelt. Let’s hope that His Majesty will respond and help.


We just had to send you this video (in the link below), it cannot fail to make you feel happy. It was captured last month and we think it is the 2 female kittens. In the picture above, which is screenshot from the video, you can sense the speed and sheer energy as they zoom around their forest home. If you play the video on full screen you will see how big and powerful they are getting. They are in absolutely prime condition. What’s incredibly exciting is that these 2 females may set up territories adjacent to their mother and breed next year.


Including their mum, that will be 3 breeding females in this area alone. Do not be fooled by the messaging that the Scottish Wildcat is functionally extinct. IT ISN’T.


Enjoy this video of pure, wild, raw Nature at it’s very best.


We can't post videos on here so here is the link to our news page where the video is hosted. It's a big file so may take a few seconds to load:


https://www.wildcathaven.com/news/sheer-exuberance


More updates to follow soon.


Thanks as always and Enjoy.

Emily and the Wildcat Haven Team

Update 65

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 11, 2023

KING CHARLES – A CALL TO ACTION

As always, thank you for your continuing and unwavering support of our fight to Save the wildcats in the Clashindarroch and their forest home. The relevant authorities have now been formally contacted by our legal team, alleging that Vattenfall are in clear breach of their license conditions. We anticipate a full investigation into this and the halting of all work. We will of course be keeping a very close eye on what is happening up there and will update you accordingly.


As you know this is all getting very very real and the industrialisation of the Clashindarroch simply must be stopped. The easiest way for this to happen is for Vattenfall to withdraw their application. We have had literally hundreds of you make the very sensible suggestion of contacting King Charles directly about this issue. It has also been on our mind and so we believe that the time to act is now.


We need the King to not only be made aware of this issue, but hopefully to directly intervene and approach Vattenfall. The King is clearly passionate about the environment, biodiversity conservation and he is also very fond of Scotland. We would hope that this would be an issue he will take an interest in.


We are therefore asking each and every one of you, no matter where you live in the world, to write directly to King Charles. It is very important that your letters raise the right issue. On the Royal website it makes is clear that the King will not respond to any letters concerning politics. Remember what the goal is:

 

TO GET VATTENFALL TO WITHDRAW THEIR APPPLICATION FOR THE CLASHINDARROCH 2 WINDFARM.


We were tempted to put up a template for a standard letter, but we feel that is not the right approach and may result in a standard response. We know how deeply and passionately you all feel and that like us, you are all personally and emotionally involved in saving the Scottish wildcat. We therefore think it will be far more powerful for you all to write your own personal letters.


However, we will of course give some guidance on what we consider you should be included in your letter. Here are some bullet points.


  • That you are writing regarding the destruction of crucial wildcat habitat in the Clashindarroch forest in Aberdeenshire.
  • The habitat is being destroyed for the construction of a windfarm project carried out by Vattenfall, a Swedish owned company.
  • The Clashindarroch has been acknowledged as a site of National importance for the Scottish wildcat.
  • The Scottish wildcat is Britain’s rarest mammal and one of the most endangered animals on earth.
  • Evidence presented at a Public Inquiry showed that the construction and operation of the windfarm will potentially result in the death and displacement of Scottish wildcats.
  • That you ask him to investigate the situation with a view to Vattenfall withdrawing their application.
  • That there are well over a million people from all over the world backing this approach. Include a link to this petition: https://www.change.org/p/scottish-government-save-the-scottish-wildcat-by-protecting-clashindarroch-forest
  • State that Wildcat Haven are the only organisation brave enough to stand up and protect this forest and that we can be contacted on this email: [email protected]
  • That you look forward to his response
  • Stress the urgency of the situation.


It goes without saying that we want your letters to be polite and engaging. We really need his help.


So, no matter where in the world you live, we ask you all to personally write directly to King Charles at the following address:

His Majesty The King
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA

United Kingdom


Please do let us know by email when you have sent your letters. We will of course be writing directly to him ourselves.


Let’s hope that with the help of the King, these beautiful and innocent wildcats get the protection they deserve. 

Our legal crowdfunder is of course ongoing and we are all so very grateful for your kindness

You are all amazing supporters and now is the time to add your personal voice to this campaign.

Many thanks as always

Emily and the whole Wildcat Haven Team.

Update 64

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 8, 2023

CLASHINDARROCH WINDFARM UPDATE- A MUST READ


It is with deep sadness and anger that we are providing this update.


We have discovered that logging on the windfarm site has already begun and that huge machinery are already present in the area. Our fieldworker very recently filmed them literally tearing trees out of the ground and satellite images show that extensive tree felling has already occurred in and around the site. This is just one of the pictures he took. They are doing this with the full knowledge that their license approval is undergoing Judicial Review. Further, we also strongly allege that they are already in breach of the consent conditions 20, 21 and 22 of their license, which stipulates that a whole host of mitigation measures (which we believe to be wholly inadequate anyway) are in place before any work commences. There is no evidence that these measures are in place.


Our legal team are formally reporting this to the relevant authorities. Here is a key extract from the letter; ‘On behalf of our clients we request that this abnormally extensive felling activity is investigated as a matter of urgency and halted, and that the Council ensures that there is compliance with these conditions’.


This just shows a continuation of the arrogance and contempt, that Vattenfall (an entirely Swedish owned company and their partner, Forestry and Land Scotland) has for the Scottish wildcat and indeed Scotland’s heritage. It also shows disrespect to the legal system. Our legal appeal (Judicial review) has already passed the permission threshold for continuing to a full hearing to be held on the 18th January 2024. This means that there is a case to be heard in court. We believe it is a very strong one and that will of course be decided by the court. Vattenfall are fully aware of all these facts, yet they and their partner are quite literally bulldozing their way through. It’s shocking and the start of the wildcat breeding season is less than 3 weeks away.


They must be stopped, we have to throw everything at this, or the site and surrounding area will become an industrial wasteland devoid of wildlife and disastrous for the wildcats across the whole of the forest.


We have a top-ranking Senior Barrister, supported by a second excellent Barrister, and a highly experienced team of lawyers and paralegals, all working on this legal challenge. They all believe in our case and are working at reduced rates, but even so, as you can imagine the costs soon mount up. We need to ensure we have the funds to see this through all the way to the end.


We are doing all we can and we won’t give up. We ask you to continue your amazing support and help us to give a voice to the beautiful wildcats who are now under extreme threat. This is all now very real and the stakes are extremely high.


The sheer contempt and arrogance shown here only strengthens our resolve. More updates to follow.

Many thanks as always

Emily and the Wildcat Haven Team

Update 63

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 4, 2023

MORE KITTEN JOY



We were looking back through some of the previous videos of the kittens and we just had to show you this. It’s a wonderful glimpse into their secret world. This footage was taken in early September, so you can you see how much they have grown in the recent picture we showed you of them.


They are following mum on what clearly is a joyous adventure. Just look at them hopping over the stream, popping up like corks out of a bottle and climbing up trees just for the sheer fun of it. They are like coiled springs and full of energy. It certainly made us smile and we hope if fills you with the same joy. We have watched it dozens of times and every time we notice something new. Look at the way mum pauses and looks back to make sure they all made the jump over the stream. Pure magic.


We can’t upload videos onto this platform but you can see the video on our news page here:

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news/more-kitten-joy


Enjoy and we hope it makes your Monday go that little bit quicker.

Very best wishes as always

Emily and the Wildcat Haven Team

Update 62

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Nov. 20, 2023

PURE KITTEN JOY

As promised here is a picture with all three kittens on it taken at the end of October. They have also been seen since. As you can see, they are looking in fantastic condition and growing so quickly. Look at those cute ringed tails with the black tail tips and just look at the that striping on the one on the left. We are absolutely delighted with their progress and they are becoming more and more independent.


We are learning all the time and we think that there are 2 females and 1 male. What’s really interesting is that the young male is spending more time away from his sisters but is often seen with Superdad. He is obviously learning the skills he will need to find and establish a territory of his own. It is just wonderful to get such an intimate insight into the complexities and dynamics of Wildcat family life.


The cameras very checked very recently and we just had to share this video of the 2 sisters with you. It is pure kitten joy. Sprinting around the forest. Jumping up trees and having fun, whilst at the same time honing their skills and developing their muscles. But most of all they are free and living the life they were born to lead and clearly having the time of their lives.


We hope you enjoy this video as much as we do. We can't load videos on this page but he video can be seen on our facebook page. If you scroll down to the first post you will see it. 

Here is the link:


https://www.facebook.com/scottishwildcathaven/?locale=en_GB


It’s guaranteed to brighten up your Monday.


We have more news to come this week so keep watching.

Thanks as always

Emily and the Wildcat Haven Team.

Update 61

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Nov. 15, 2023

SUPERDAD- WE ARE LEARNING NEW THINGS ALL THE TIME

We wanted to give you an update on the family of wildcats with the three beautiful kittens. As we said, and you have seen, no one has ever filmed a whole family of wildcats together. It has always been thought that males play no part in the rearing of the young. What we are finding is incredible, we are learning more and more about wildcat family life every time we check the cameras.

We are observing brand new behaviour that has not been documented in any of the scientific literature we can find. He is such a magnificent animal, just look at his bulk and his head. The cameras are showing us that not only is the male (we now call him Superdad), spending time with his family which obviously has great protective benefits, but he is also leading the kittens on foraging missions around the forest without the mother. He is taking them to different parts of his home range. It is astonishing and absolutely fascinating to have such a privileged insight into wildcat family life. You can see in this picture that Superdad is leading the way but the kittens are right on his shoulder. You can only see 2 kittens here but we have later footage of all 3 on other cameras so don’t worry.

This picture was taken towards the end of October and you can see just how much the kittens are growing and thriving. They are huge. They are also showing great markings as you can see by looking at the body striping of the one in foreground.

We will continue to document and monitor this family and keep learning the lessons they are teaching us.

They are giving us a powerful message. Wildcats have far more complex social and family lives than we ever imagined. The adults clearly form bonds, they clearly have overlapping territories and share  space far more than we thought. There is clearly social structure and interaction and that must exist on a landscape scale.

This is why it is vital that the free-living wildcat populations are not disturbed, that they can live and breed in peace and that they are not displaced or captured for a zoo. Just imagine the difference to these kittens if their father was captured or displaced. This also supports our strong argument that the Clashindarroch should not be turned into an industrialised landscape for a windfarm. Can you imagine the disturbance impact during the construction phase with all that heavy machinery? The loss of habitat is serious enough, but the disturbance ramifications of the construction and operational phases are perhaps as great, if not even greater for the forest as a whole. Wildcats are particularly prone to disturbance which is why they are supposed to be strictly protected, including their den sites and even resting places.

What is obvious from the science and our observations is that whole landscape/ forest level impacts need to be considered, because if they are not, then entire complex, social structures can be disturbed, which will undoubtedly lead to displacement and crucially a reduction in breeding success.

We hope you enjoy seeing Superdad and his kittens. They fill us with joy every time.

If you want to find out more about this family and our work then please visit:

www.wildcathaven.com

More news to come so keep watching.

Thanks as always

The Wildcat Haven Team

Update 60

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Nov. 13, 2023

CLASHINDARROCH UPDATE- A MUST READ

As promised here is an update on the Clashindarroch windfarm. 

Some of you may have heard, but most of you may not be aware, that the Sottish Ministers have given approval for the second Clashindarroch windfarm to go ahead. We are of course appalled that this has occurred despite the increasing weight being given to the Biodiversity crisis. It is incomprehensible to us that Ministers would allow a development which Vattenfall themselves (an entirely Swedish owned company), concede would impact on at least 5 wildcat territories. The Clashindarroch was also agreed to be a site of National significance for the Scottish wildcat.

Further evidence submitted by Vattenfall said that ‘Hence, the construction phase presents potential hazards that can lead to the killing of kittens in particular, or to the displacement of wildcats’. We cannot understand how any Minister could sign this off ? 

 

There are many questions that remain and the fight is not over yet.

 

Here is a brief overview of where we are up to and how we have arrived at this point. After the first Public Inquiry in which we participated, the Reporter (the person who assesses the windfarm application) recommended to the Scottish Ministers that the windfarm be refused. However, and this is the crucial bit, this information was not made public until June 2023. We had not idea at all. 

 

In early December 2022, we received a formal letter from the DPEA stating ‘Scottish Ministers, through the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA), are currently considering an appeal made to them by Vattenfall Wind Power Ltd for the above development’. This strongly suggests that Vattenfall had seen the recommendation for refusal and launched an appeal. The other objectors including ourselves, immediately raised the vital point that we had no idea any decision had been made. It looked like Vattenfall were privy to information that none of the other participants had access to. Following this backlash another correspondence was sent from the DPEA and this time it read, ‘The decision to hold a further hearing is in response to a request from the Scottish Ministers that the reporter’s inquiry report should now include further information on the implications of the most recent version of the fourth National Planning Framework.  It is not a response to any correspondence submitted to the reporter by Vattenfall Wind Power Ltd’. The 2 statements are entirely contradictory. We will let you make your own minds up about what actually happened. 

 

It gets stranger. Following the second Public Inquiry hearing in January 2023, the reporter changed her recommendation from refusal to approval. Shortly after this, the Scottish Ministers signed it off giving Vattenfall the go ahead…….

 

What next?

Well as you know by now, we don’t give up easily and the fight is not over yet. As soon as we found out about the approval, we immediately started looking at legal routes to challenge and reverse the decision. The route for this is called a Judicial Review. So, we instructed one of the most experienced planning barristers in Scotland and an extremely experienced law firm, and for the past few months we have been working tirelessly to put together our case. We are very pleased to tell you that not only have we lodged our application to the Court, but that we now have permission from the court to proceed. This is the crucial first hurdle to overcome. There is now a preliminary hearing on the 8th December and a full hearing in January. This is a very serious business and will be held in the Court of Session. So it’s not over yet, the wildcats still have a voice and if it wasn’t for your support which allows us to keep fighting, they would have none and their home would be bulldozed. 

 

Our legal case to overturn the approval of Vattenfall’s plans is the only hope the precious wildcats that live there have. There are multiple barristers, solicitors and paralegals working on our case and as you can imagine, this is not a cheap undertaking. It will cost tens of thousands (despite all parties working on a restricted fee basis). 

 

We simply cannot give up now and we need your support more than ever, so if you want to help us keep fighting for the Clashndarroch wildcats, then please go to:

 

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

 

FYI, we have the been fighting this legal battle for over 4 years and so the sum on the Crowdfunder is the cumulative amount, not the amount available, which is of course far, far less. 

 

Many thanks as always and we will keep you posted.

 

The Wildcat Haven Team, 

Update 59

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Oct. 30, 2023

ALL THREE KITTENS SURVIVED THE STORM

As you will all know, Aberdeenshire was the epicentre for Storm Babet that hit about 10 days ago. Whilst we all know how well adapted wildcats are to the harsh Scottish weather, this storm was particularly ferocious and so we were more than a little anxious to see if the three, Aberdeenshire, wildcat kittens had survived. We know from your email messages that many of you shared our concerns.


Well, fear not, we absolutely thrilled to tell you that having checked the camera traps, all three kittens have made it through. The camera trap image is timed and dated and was thankfully taken on the 22nd October, so just after the storm. All three of them are playing on a fallen tree, in the wild where they rightfully belong. If you zoom in, there is one kitten clearly in the middle, one to the right jumping up to join it and another one slightly obscured to the left. It won’t win wildlife photographer of the year but it priceless proof that they are alive and well.


We will of course keep monitoring these kittens and keep you up to date on their progress and post some videos when we can.


We hope this brightens up your Monday afternoon.

More updates to follow soon so keep watching and supporting.


Very best wishes as always

The Wildcat Haven Team.

Update 58

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Oct. 13, 2023

UNSEEN WILD KITTEN PICTURES- ENJOY

Many thanks for all your kind words of support and sheer joy at seeing the kitten videos. It's so great to see such collective excitement. 


We owe so much to your continuing support and so we wanted to say thanks to you by sharing the kitten images above that haven't been released before. They are absolutely thriving and so is mum and dad.  The wildcat is NOT functionally extinct, there are breeding populations still out there and with your help we can and will save the magnificent Scottish wildcat in the wild where it belongs.


Please keep supporting our fight to save priceless habitat for these beautiful and wild felines. We are so grateful for all your support. We have lots more news to come on the Clashindarroch and Finlay so keep watching. 


We really hope you enjoy seeing these unseen kitten photos. They are absolutely gorgeous. The pics can be found on our news page at this link:


https://www.wildcathaven.com/news/unseen-kitten-pictures-enjoy


Thanks as always

Emily (Director) and the whole of the Wildcat Haven Team

Update 57

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Oct. 4, 2023

WILDCAT FAMILY AND KITTENS IN THE WILD- A WORLD FIRST

We are so excited to share with you the incredible news that we have obtained footage of an entire family of wildcats in the wild. Mum on the left, dad on the right and 3 beautiful kittens. This is the huge male we showed you recently. Five wildcats in one image/video, a world first.  Massive thanks to Luke Whelan at the Express for giving this UK wide press coverage. There is so much more to come but in the meantime, please read the article and share it everywhere you can. The Wildcat is NOT functionally extinct, it is breeding successfully in the wild and it can and will be saved in the wild where it belongs. 


https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1819892/scottish-wildcat-found-british-forrest-youngest


Keep watching and sharing. We are so excited, we hope you are too. 


Thanks as always 

The Wildcat haven team

Update 56

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Aug. 30, 2023

6 MORE WILDCATS- BEST SUMMER SEASON EVER

We hope you are all well and have had a good summer. We are delighted to tell you that we have had our most successful summer ever. Our project is growing all the time and we are now working across a study area in excess of 3000 sq miles. We have an amazing network of highly skilled and passionate local community members who carry out camera trapping in some of the remotest places in Scotland. The majority of our efforts this summer have focussed on Aberdeenshire. We recently informed you that we had found another 4 new wildcats in Aberdeenshire. Well, if that wasn’t good enough one of our local field workers has found another 6 wildcats in a completely new area, in less than a month.


Look at the wildcat in the picture, it is a real beauty. You can see that its perfectly striped, has a perfect ringed tail and look at the stature of the cat. It’s an absolute beast measuring around 4 ft from nose to tail tip. Look at the thickness of the neck and definition in the should muscles. It’s currently in its summer coat so it will look even more magnificent when it has its thick winter coat. It’s thrilling to know that beautiful wildcats like this are wandering free. You can see from the date on the picture that this image was captured just 2 weeks ago and it is in broad daylight.  It is coming in for a feed from a pile of mackerel fillets and it shows how remote and peaceful the site is, that the wildcat is confident enough to show itself during the day. It is a credit to the landowners that they have created such a safe haven for wildlife.


So, that’s ten new wildcats in multiple new areas in Aberdeenshire, in the last few months. Do not let anyone tell you that the wildcat is functionally extinct. Do not believe the propaganda that the wildcat can only be saved through captive breeding. It is complete garbage. The wildcat is still out there and the more we look and the more our community network grows, the more wildcats we find. This is real grassroots, in situ conservation and it works. Our main task this winter will be to neuter all domestic cats in these areas so that the wildcats can only breed with other wildcats.


We are the only organisation that is actively trying to find and protect Wildcats across Scotland and we are totally committed to saving the wildcat in the wild, where it belongs.


You can probably tell by the tone of this email that we are both very excited and determined. 


Thank you so much for your ongoing support. We cannot continue our work without you. We have very important updates on the Clashindarroch and Finlay coming very soon, plus more wildcat footage, so keep watching.


Very best wishes as always

The Wildcat Haven Team

 

Update 55

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

June 22, 2023

PLANS FOR 1000 SQKM WILDCAT HAVEN IN ABERDEENSHIRE REVEALED

Huge thanks to Lewis Mcblane at the Huntly Express newspaper for announcing our aspirations for a 1000 sq km Wildcat Haven Area in Aberdeenshire. As you all know, the Clashindarroch forrest in Aberdeenshire is widely acknowledged as a site of National importance for the wildcat. However, as our network of volunteers and community supporters has grown in Aberdeenshire, something remarkable is happening. We have been getting an increasing number of leads and so far every one of them have has led to a new wildcat being found outside of the Clashindarroch. We are currently following new leads at the moment and as always we will show you the footage when get it.

As you will see from the press article we are keen to get as many people as possible involved in the project. We are very much a grass roots, community driven organisation and everyone is welcome to help. We are extremely excited for the future of wildcats in Aberdeenshire. More to follow soon including an update on Finlay which we know you are all very keen for.

Here is the link to the article, share it widely, let everyone know that the magnificent Scottish wildcat can and will be saved in wild where it belongs.

https://www.grampianonline.co.uk/news/wildcat-stronghold-near-huntly-sees-four-sightings-317821/

Thanks as always. Keep watching there are lots more updates to come

The Wildcat haven Team

Update 54

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

June 15, 2023

MAJOR FLAWS IN BREED AND RELEASE PROJECT EXPOSED IN MEDIA

We are very grateful to David MacKay at the Press and Journal for exposing the truth behind the PR bluster. Here is the link:

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/environment/5834110/wildcat-haven-nature-scot-licences/

As you know we have our misgivings about the planned captive breeding and release programme coordinated by RZSS ( The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland  that runs Edinburgh zoo and the Highland Wildlife park). We therefore asked the government for a copy of the license. After months of waiting and numerous prompts, we finally got the license. 


Needless to say our concerns are fully justified.

A summary of the key points is as follows:

They plan on releasing 60 cats.

They expect at least 36 of them to die in their first year of release.

They accept that the mortality may actually increase from this figure.

The release site is in proximity to the A9, one of the busiest roads in Scotland. 

Road kill is one of the major mortality causes.

The license is for the release of  NON NATIVE animals. Yet we all know that the Scottish Wildcat is true native of Scotland. 

The claim that the release site contains no wildcats and is on land that is part of the Cairngorms Connect project. However, the Cairngorms connect project boasts to have wildcats on it’s land. It’s on their website. 

They are considering using ‘hard release’ techniques where the cat is literally dumped out of a box and left to fend for itself. 

Scientific literature based on previous releases of European wildcats report losses of up to 80% in the first year. That would equate to 48 out of 60 cats dying.


We have all seen the PR barrage from RZSS and Nature Scot, but these are the facts they probably didn’t want you to see. 


Oh and guess what, the release sites are with 2 and 10km from the zoo. Surprise surprise. 


So there is project that claims that the wildcat is functionally extinct (it definitely isn’t as we are showing), that plans on spending up to 5 million pounds on a project that will likely lead to the death of up to 48 wildcats. The Cairngorms is one of the harshest environments in Scotland, has a major road going through it and has major human settlements like Aviemore. You could hardly think of a worse spot for such a project. It is only makes sense if you want to profit from it and increase zoo ticket sales. 

 

So much death and so much wastage of funds. That money if properly spent on  conserving the remaining wild population, would save the wildcat in the wild where it belongs. 

 

Some of you have asked why we don’t work with these organisations. We would never sign up to something as misguided and wasteful as this. There are some serious welfare concerns here as well. The breeding enclosures where the kittens spend the early and crucially formative part of their lives are not naturalistic and so don’t allow the development of natural behaviours. They may well be moved to more natural enclosures before release but the damage may already be done. 


And what about the non-native aspect. We have shown you images of the very poor quality hybrids they are breeding from. Nature Scot claim that a non-native license is required because they are locally extinct in the release area. However, this can’t be true as the landowners of the release site claim that there are wildcat already there. We think the non-native clause is to cover them for releasing low grade hybrids that are not in fact wildcats. The ones we have seen with white chests look like they are more suited to curling up on your lap rather than being released into arguably the most extreme environment in the UK. 


In addition to this clearly ill conceived and disastrous scheme, there is another crucial reason why we could never collaborate with any project that involves RZSS and that again is on welfare grounds. Through a previous FOI made a few years ago we exposed this:


‘However the trapping licence issued by SNH to Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) dictates that all feral cats caught must be shot by gamekeepers in the cage trap (see page 12 first para RZSS licence application document).


Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society International / UK, which supports the Wildcat Haven project, commented: "We are appalled and dismayed that feral cats in Scotland are facing death in the name of 'conservation' under protocols authored by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.


"I am sure the public will be rightly shocked by this sad revelation. Wildcat Haven has proven that feral cats can be sterilised, not shot, to protect Scottish wildcats in their natural habitat.


The license application is supported by a detailed document authored by RZSS, setting out 'Humane Dispatch Protocols' which includes the stipulation (page 21 last para RZSS licence application document):


"Any individuals which are obviously feral domestic cats, non-native or unfit for release will bedispatched according to standard predator control practices, by the land manager, as per estate norms. Dispatch with a 12 bore shotgun using number three shot (lead shot not to be used overforeshore or wetlands), positioned 5m from the trap, aiming at the head and front of shoulder, is recommended."


RZSS was widely condemned including by the Humane Society International. We could never work with an organisation that proposed and designed such a barbaric plan. You can read the article here:

https://theecologist.org/2016/apr/12/scotlands-secret-cat-slaughter-revealed-foi-documents


Oh and if that isn’t bad enough they also culled an entire wolf pack and replaced them with another sub species. It was exposed and condemned by Advocates for animals:

https://www.scotsman.com/news/wildlife-park-culls-pack-of-wolves-to-stop-them-killing-each-other-2481149


And finally there is this. They were renting pandas and it’s almost unspeakable what they were exposed to. This time PETA condemned them:

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/edinburgh-zoo-pandas-sexually-assaulted-23957119.amp


We understand that some of you may think RZSS are good and some of you may even have donated to their wildcat plans so we appreciate it may be uncomfortable to read the reality behind the marketing. 


But hopefully now you can see why we don’t work with them. They are not our kind of people. We will continue to be the only organisation focused on conserving the magnificent wild cat in the wild where it belongs.


The recent wildcat article only allows you to read it a few times so the full text is on our website:

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news

Thanks so much for your continued support and understanding. 

Best wishes and keep watching.

The Wildcat Haven Team. 

Update 53

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

June 13, 2023

RARE DAYLIGHT FOOTAGE IN ABERDEENSHIRE

HI All

We are extremely excited to be able to show you this exceptionally rare daylight footage of a Scottish wildcat (on news link below). It is a wildcat we have not seen before and was found on a trail cam in a remote part of Aberdeenshire. If you pause it as you watch or watch it in slow motion, you will see the key diagnostic coat markings as it passes. Excellent body striping, blunt, ringed tail, clear head stripes etc. As you will know, most of our footage is captured at night so this is rare footage indeed. You can see the colours and how it perfectly blends into the dappled light. Such magnificent animals that are still out there, living in the wild where they belong. It’s a great thrill every time we see a wildcat but this is extra special as it is a new cat and in daylight. What a treat. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we do. We can't embed videos here so you can see it on our news page at:


https://www.wildcathaven.com/news


Enjoy the footage and thank you so much for your ongoing support, that enables us to conserve these most beautiful felines.


Very Best Wishes

The Wildcat Haven Team


Update 52

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

June 6, 2023

FOUR NEW WILDCATS FOUND

What an amazing few weeks we have had. Apologies for the lack of updates but we have been in full field work mode.


In the last few weeks, many of you will have seem the government PR bluster about the release of supposed wildcats into the Cairngorms at a cost of around 5 million pounds. You will have also seen the desperate attempts to convince the public that the Scottish wildcat is functionally extinct. Of course, the government need to do this to justify their plans.


Whilst all this has been going on, we have been doing the ‘boots on the ground’ approach and have found another 4 new wildcats in Aberdeenshire. Three of these cats are outside of the Clashindarroch. Aberdeenshire is proving to be a real stronghold. Makes a mockery of the functionally extinct argument.


We are finding beautiful wildcats. For some reason we can't upload the images but if you go to our newspage (link below) you can see them. The first and second pictures were taken on CCTV footage on a remote farm. It is an astonishing wildcat. The cat to the right is a neutered domestic cat. Just look at the tail, the striping, the stature. You can also see that the dorsal stripe stops perfectly at the base of the tail. This is a reference cat, a perfect specimen and we are finding others. In stark contrast, underneath the pictures, you will see an example of the breeding stock used by the government breed and release programme. There is simply no comparison. It has a white chest is looking at the camera with someone in the enclosure (so clearly no fear of people) and it looks like it would be better off on someone’s lap.


The true Scottish wildcat is still out there, living wild and free and with the right resourcing and effort, it can be saved in the wild where it belongs. That is our mission and with your support we can do it.


Have a look at our news page and you can make your own minds up:


https://www.wildcathaven.com/news

Best wishes

The Wildcat Haven Team.

  

Update 51

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

May 3, 2023

NO PEACE FOR ANY WILDCAT KITTENS

We have had a very exciting and productive field work season and are finding new wildcats in new areas. Do not be fooled by the PR agenda put out by the government, that the Scottish wildcat is functionally extinct and beyond saving in the wild.


We very recently decided to look around some of the forests surrounding our core study area of the Clashindarroch. We entered Gartly forest which is very close to the Clashindarroch and owned by the Forestry and Land Scotland. It is known to contain wildcats and multiple scientific publications have made reference to this site. As we were driving through we heard the noise of machinery and to our disbelief this is what we saw. A vast pile of logs and heavy machinery moving them around.


The video can be seen on our news page here:


https://www.wildcathaven.com/news


This is a known wildcat area, it is the time of the breeding season when young kittens will be in their dens. It is therefore a time of peak sensitivity. Rather than peace, any females in the area are exposed to this. It must terrifying for any denning female who is left with 3 awful choices. Abandon her kittens, eat them to reabsorb nutrients or try to move them, but to where. Can you imagine the stress this would cause to a denning female. There were other vehicles in the area so there is massive disturbance going on.


When is the government going to leave these animals in peace to breed without disturbance. All we hear from them is hollow words, that best practice is being followed and that areas are surveyed beforehand. Yeah right. The reality is in these photos. Forestry operations on a large scale right at peak kitten time.


We will be following this up with Forestry and land Scotland and with Ministers.


It is just so wrong on every level. Meanwhile there is huge fanfare about some zoo kittens being released into the Cairngorms whilst simultaneously wildcat habitat is being destroyed and free living wildcats disturbed. You couldn’t make it up. Just exploitation.


We continue to be the only organisation looking for and trying to conserve the beautiful Scottish wildcat in the wild where it belongs. We can’t do it without your support.


We will keep you all posted on developments. Thanks for your support and keep watching.

The Wildcat Haven Team.

Update 50

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

April 27, 2023

HOW TO DEFINE A SCOTTISH WILDCAT !!!!!!

Hi All 

This is a long but hopefully informative post which will provide information about the identification of Scottish wildcats.


As we all know, wildcats can breed with domestic cats producing hybrids. This can make identification challenging. Fortunately, scientific research was conducted to identify the key diagnostic coat markings (pelage) that help to differentiate wildcats from domestic cats and hybrids. This work was published in the following paper and has been used ever since by every group who has worked on wildcats. 


https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/animal-conservation-forum/article/abs/diagnosis-for-the-scottish-wildcat-felis-silvestris-a-tool-for-conservation-action-for-a-criticallyendangered-felid/31C7DD470BC20C5FD523B7F77C5DD143


There is complete consensus amongst all parties on its utility to identify wildcats. After analysing dozens of museum specimens, 7 diagnostic coat markings were identified. Each diagnostic marking is given a score out of 3. A score of 1 means domestic, 2 means hybrid and 3 means wildcat. Therefore, the maximum score a cat can achieve is 21 and would be considered a pure wildcat. 


This in essence is the Scottish wildcat pelage scoring system and the most established and arguably only way to assess the purity of any given cat. 


There is a schematic which clearly shows the traits and the scoring system is simply laid out. The significant benefit is that this system can be applied to any cat without the need to sedate it (which carries inherent risks which are arguably too large to unnecessarily take with the rarest cat in the world), so it is a non-invasive assessment that can be carried out on both wild and captive cats. 

The link to the schematic is here:

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news


It is not always possible to get clear views of all traits and there is also debate about what threshold constitutes a wildcat. A number of studies that have informed govt policy and population estimates have used a threshold of 14 out of 21. A pelage score of 14 out of 21 would imply that two thirds of an individual’s genome is wildcat, so the majority of its genetic make-up is wildcat. 

 The one such study is here:


https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/oryx/article/detecting-the-elusive-scottish-wildcat-felis-silvestris-silvestris-using-camera-trapping/0ECA2B26BC4BE25468A6CB375E17E608


The studies are regularly referenced by Nature Scot. Indeed, the government have published literature to provide to gamekeepers which refers to the relaxed definition being applied in field conditions The ‘relaxed definition’ is aligned with the precautionary principle that underpins environmental law. Basically, it means it’s a wildcat until proven otherwise. This makes very practical sense because it could for example prevent a wildcat being neutered or even euthanised as part of a cat culling programme. We obviously hugely oppose any culling programmes but government wildcat projects and their partners, RZSS (the people who run Edinburgh zoo, Highland Wildlife park and the current wildcat breeding programme), have previously developed protocols for shooting cats in traps with shotguns. It sounds too horrific to be true, but here is the link:


https://theecologist.org/2016/apr/12/scotlands-secret-cat-slaughter-revealed-foi-documents

The strict definition is 19 out of 21. And this is where it gets complicated and confusing. We have been trying for years to get the government to come up with a clear definition of what constitutes a wildcat. We have had meetings with senior members of Nature Scot and policy advisors to Ministers. We were told in writing that the threshold is 75%. That would equate to 15.75 so rounding up would be 16 on the pelage scoring scale. However, we have also seen government publications which say 18 is the threshold , but then we are aware of cats in the government breeding programme that score 17 on the pelage scoring system. If you look on the Nature Scot website it provides no definition at all. There are range of links to click on and follow but it’s just not clear on the government’s own site. 


https://www.nature.scot/plants-animals-and-fungi/mammals/land-mammals/wildcats

 

It also states a population of between 115 to 314 individuals. That really is quite a big range and suggests that in reality, the Scottish government has no clue about how many wildcats are left and are not exactly forthcoming on the definition of a wildcat.  


The vagueness of definition and the remarkably large range in population estimates makes it very difficult for people and groups working on wildcats to understand what the government’s position is on both definition and status. What is clear is that the position changes and is often contradictory. We have seen examples of cats being identified as wildcats and then being downgraded as hybrids. Indeed, you all saw this at the Public Inquiry. Previously, the Clashindarroch was described as wildcat wonderland, then later, government publications referred to a population of hybrids. Also, a population of 300 or even 100, certainly doesn’t equate to being functionally extinct, yet the government has declared the wildcat to be functionally extinct in the wild. 


Anyway, back to the definitions. Through FOI’s we know that the government is planning to release cats that are bred from parents scoring 17 out of 21. The schematic refers to 17 out of 21 and so in the absence of any further guidance that seems to be the cut off currently being used. But this contradicts the 75% threshold equating to 16, that we were provided with from government policy advisors. It also seems that the relaxed definition (score of 14) is still used, particularly in situations where traits cannot be easily seen. 


In the last few weeks we have written to Nature Scot to give us the definition they are using to classify a wildcat. One would think such information would be readily provided. After a period of nearly a month, we still haven’t received a reply……..


Anyway, remember that pelage scoring can be applied to any potential wildcat. However, it is absolutely vital that the correct traits are assessed. If they are not, then any score cannot be relied up on and can carry no weight. 


There is a lot to take in here and we will let you digest it. Read the links and the papers, make yourself familiar with the 7 diagnostic traits. Have a go at scoring some cats from images. Education is a big part of our project and we want you all to be wildcat experts. 


We will follow up shortly with the implications all this has on our project and we will also cover the issue of genetic testing. Our position is clear, that based on the genetic data we have seen, there is currently no reliable genetic test and pelage scoring remains the gold standard for wildcat identification. But more on all this soon.


Keep watching and keep in touch, there is so much going on and so many updates to come.

To find out more, you can visit our website at:

www.wildcathaven.com 

Very best wishes as always

The Wildcat Haven Team 

Update 49

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

April 24, 2023

BEAUTIFUL WILDCAT VIDEO

Time is flying and we have had a very busy and productive few weeks. Our fieldwork efforts are really going well. We are finding new wildcats which is extremely promising, surveying new areas and are now operating over vast tracts of land. Crucially we are developing a fantastic network of people who live in the local communities and can help expand the areas we cover, as well provide intelligence on where wildcats might be.

Below is the link to our youtube channel showing a video of a wonderful wildcat living free. It’s an absolute beauty, great nape and shoulder stripes, clear dorsal stripe and a blunt, ringed tail. It gives us a thrill every time to see these wonderful animals. They are so graceful and they deserve the right to live and breed in peace.

https://youtu.be/frEF5L3KxCU

Be in no doubt, populations of these animals still exist, and we will continue to find, monitor and protect every single one of them. The Government has written off the wild population and is currently involved in a 5 million pound project to captive breed and release apparent wildcats (many of them look hybridised),  when the wildcat still exits in the wild. It defies logic. We continue to be the only organisation solely dedicated to protecting in the wild where it belongs.

Enjoy the video and there are a lot more updates to follow. We have more wildcats to show you, an important update on Finlay and a crucial update on our work in the Clashindarroch.

Keep watching and thanks for your continuing support.

Very best wishes as always

The Wildcat Haven Team.

Update 48

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

March 9, 2023

LETS HOPE FOR KITTENS- THE IMPORTANCE OF MARCH

A huge thanks to each and every one of you who has registered your concerns to Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) about logging in the breeding season. Please do let us know if you receive any responses. Rest assured, our field worker in the Clashindarroch is keeping a watchful eye out for any disturbance. 


There is a need for extra vigilance as it is a critical time for the wildcats there. We hope that despite the logging carried out by the FLS, some of the females are heavily pregnant now and it's possible that some have even given birth. The pregnancy lasts around 64 days and so any females that mated early, will hopefully be safely tucked away in a secretive den far away from any disturbance. Den sites can be under tree roots or in rock crevices and a female will have multiple den sites. It's possible that at this moment the first newborn kittens have arrived. It's always a very exciting time and it spurs us all on to know that by stopping logging and disturbance, then we give those females a chance to rear their priceless kittens in peace.


As you know a lot of our work involves participating in the Public Inquiry, holding to account those who seek to destroy crucial wildcat habitat. It requires meetings, hearings, gathering evidence and producing reports. But sometimes it's important to bring this all back to basics. Ultimately it comes down to enabling a female wildcat to mate, choose a den site, give birth, and then suckle and nurture her kittens without fear or danger. When we think of these individual animals, it gives us strength and resolve. This is why we fight on and we will always do so.  


We simply cannot do this without you and we really appreciate your continuing support


Many thanks in advance

The Wildcat Haven Team

Update 47

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

March 7, 2023

SECURING THE BREEDING SEASON NEXT YEAR

Thanks so much to all of you who have spoken out on the behalf of the wildcat and contacted Simon Hodgson, Chief Executive of Forestry and Land Scotland, about logging during the wildcat breeding season. You all got a standard response which contained this remarkable and contradictory statement.

‘I can confirm that all of the harvesting operations on Scotland’s national forests and land in Clashindarroch were completed by the 31 January 2023, prior to the start of the breeding season’.

For the avoidance of any doubt, it is a scientific fact and widely accepted that the Scottish wildcat breeding season starts in January. So we had the Chief executive of Forestry and Land Scotland confirming in writing that logging has taken place during the wildcat breeding season.

Many of you then followed up with further questions. You have sent us the response you received. Again you have all been sent a standard response with scant information that has avoided many of the questions you asked. 

We believe this is simply not acceptable from the Chief Executive of  a public organisation. No acknowledgement whatsoever has been made that logging has indeed taken place in the breeding season (despite confirming it) and absolutely no reassurances have been given that come next January, they won’t be logging again.

The first response from Simon Hodgson is clearly misleading. Given that he states that the FLS are partners with the Governments wildcat project, it seems implausible that the Chief Executive and the people who advise him, are unaware of the fact that January is a key time in the breeding season. Therefore, to claim that logging in January isn’t in the breeding season is an untenable and simply false position. EVERYONE who works on wildcats knows that January is part of the breeding season, including the relevant people in Forestry and Land Scotland.

We are very disappointed with the conduct and attitude of the Chief Executive and are going to raise a formal complaint. We feel he has misled the public, provided contradictory and incorrect information and dealt with genuine concerns in a high handed and dismissive manner. Most importantly, there is no acceptance that logging has occurred at a key time in the wildcat breeding cycle.

From your emails (and we read every all of them), we are not aware of a single one of you who is satisfied with the responses you have received from Simon Hodgson.

We will be complaining about the conduct of Simon Hodgson through the formal route using this email address:

[email protected]

If any of you are also dissatisfied with how your concerns have been dealt with, you also have the right to complain. Your complaint should be sent to the above email and needs to contain the following information:

Your full name and contact details
As much detail as possible about the complaint
How you wish the matter to be resolved

Our complaint will focus on these major themes:

1.      The disruption that logging in January can cause to mating success and therefore the negative knock on impacts on the number of kittens born. 

2.      The conduct of Mr Hodgson. 

As a resolution, we will also be asking for a very firm commitment that going forward, no logging will take place in the Clashindarroch, during any stage of the wildcat breeding season. The wildcats need and deserve a chance to breed in peace. We really don’t think this is too much to ask.

As you know, we will see this through until the end.  

Finally, we have noticed that since we raised this issue, the Scottish Government’s wildcat programme has put out PR message on social media about how great Forestry and Land Scotland are. They say ‘On World Wildlife Day we're celebrating project partner Forestry and land Scotland’s commitment to restoring land in Scotland for native species’. It’s shameless, and once again, as with the windfarm, the Government’s wildcat programme is simply used as a deflection and defence for destroying crucial wildcat habitat. So sad and so cynical.

As always, thank you so much for standing with us to give a voice to the voiceless. 

Finlay updates coming very soon after a progress assessment by the vet this week. Rest assured he is thriving. 

Very best wishes

Emily (Director) and Finlay

Update 46

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 23, 2023

CONFIRMED LOGGING DURING THE BREEDING SEASON- A MUST READ

Hi All

Thank you so much to each and every one of you who contacted Forestry Land Scotland about the recent logging activities. Our local field worker observed multiple areas of recent logging in the Clashindarroch. We posted a picture up of one such site. The Clashindarroch forest is huge and the vast majority is owned by Forestry and Land Scotland.

We have seen the responses you have received from the Chief Executive, Simon Hodgson. The response states that the land in the picture we showed, is not owned by the FLS forest. We are already looking into this. However, the response continues and contains this remarkable statement.

‘I can confirm that all of the harvesting operations on Scotland’s national forests and land in Clashindarroch were completed by the 31 January 2023, prior to the start of the breeding season’.

For the avoidance of any doubt, it is a scientific fact and widely accepted that the Scottish wildcat breeding season starts in January. Look at the picture above, it details the annual breeding cycle. January is a time of peak female fertility and part of the main mating period. This diagram has previously been published by the government. So, any logging activities in January can be hugely damaging to the upcoming breeding season. No mating, no kittens, it’s as simple as that.

So there we have it, the Chief executive of Forestry land Scotland has confirmed in writing that logging has taken place during the wildcat breeding season.

I know many of you have received a response from the Chief Executive. You may wish to reply back to him raising the following issues.

What has been the extent of logging in the Clashindarroch in 2022 and 2023 and when did it occur?

Why is he issuing statements that say they haven’t been harvesting in the breeding season, when by his own admission, they have?

You can see what we are up against. Whilst grandiose claims are made about best practice, and working with the Governments Saving Wildcats scheme, the reality is that Forestry Land Scotland have indeed been logging at an absolutely crucial stage of the wildcat breeding cycle.

So as a result of your emails, Simon Hodgson’s response has revealed some extremely useful, albeit it, highly concerning information.

The more we dig, the more we find and collectively we give a voice to the voiceless.

Keep in touch and as you have been doing, please do copy us in to any communications and send us any responses. Our email is:

[email protected]

You can find out more about our work at:

https://www.wildcathaven.com

Thanks so much as always.

Very best wishes

Emily (Director) and Finlay.

Update 45

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 21, 2023

LOGGING IN THE BREEDING SEASON- WE NEED YOUR HELP

Hi All 

We are both upset and appalled at what we are about to tell you. 

Our fieldworker in the Clashindarroch Forest has found an active Logging site. The logging is being carried out by Forestry Land Scotland (formerly the Forestry Commission Scotland). You can see how fresh it is as the brash in the foreground is still green. It is right in the middle of the breeding season and females will currently be pregnant and preparing den sites. It is an absolutely crucial time and stress can easily cause females to abort or reabsorb foetuses. Is it really too much to ask for these beautiful animals to have the chance to live and breed in peace? The Scottish government are putting out endless PR about a so called breed and release programme that will supposedly save the wildcat (more on this ill conceived plan later), whilst another government department is busy logging habitat containing the most important population of wildcats in Scotland. It’s absurd. 

We have previously alerted you about Forestry Land Scotland logging during the breeding season last year. Many of your wrote to them. You received responses claiming that no active logging had occurred during the breeding season. The responses had links to how they avoid disturbance. However the reality is that they did have active sites then and they have active sites now. Whilst they portray an image of understanding where wildcats and their dens sites are, one of their own ecologists has revealed the true situation. In emails obtained under FOI it states, ‘We all know that we have wild cats present in the Clash - yet we still have no idea where their den sites are and we have not even started looking for resting places which are protected too!’. 

That hardly inspires confidence does it. Once again the wildcat is betrayed because of it’s elusiveness.  

From our observations, the current operations look significant and will create disturbance in a zone far greater than just the logging site. Such disturbance is simply not acceptable and risks the productivity of the breeding season for this year. 

We need all operations to stop at this critical time. 

Can you all please email the CEO, Simon Hodgson to request that current activities are stopped as a matter of urgency. Hopefully he will listen to your concerns and act swiftly. His email address is: 

[email protected]

We will continue to monitor the site and indeed the whole of the Clashindarroch Forest. Once again, collectively, we can and need to give a voice to the voiceless.  

Many thanks 

Emily (Director) and Finlay 

Update 44

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 9, 2023

MORE FLAWS IN VATTENFALL'S PROPOSAL EXPOSED

We wanted to update you on the Inquiry hearing that happened yesterday.

The hearing focussed on Vattenfall’s windfarm application in the context of new government and local council planning documents. As we stated before the Inquiry, we felt that the documents were far more aligned with our position of refusal than Vattenfall’s proposal of approval. After the hearing we are even more convinced. The policy documents rightly highlight the importance of the Biodiversity crisis and the necessity to conserve, rather than destroy and then mitigate.

Crucially the hearing exposed some fundamental flaws in Vattenfall’s proposal. In the previous hearing back in February 2022 last year, we highlighted serious deficiencies in Vattenfall’s Environmental Impact Assessment. A key criticism was on their proposed mitigation and compensation actions. They claimed to have large scale replanting schemes to mitigate the destruction of the Clashindarroch forest site. The first flaw in this plan is that any replanting scheme will take decades to mature and the wildcats will simply have nowhere to go in the meantime. Further, their replanting scheme lacked any detail whatsoever. No landowner buy in, no location specifics, nothing to reassure anyone that their proposed replanting schemes were nothing more than hollow words and box ticking. Well a full year has passed and one would presume that in that time, Vattenfall’s mitigation plans would have been progressed. However, when directly asked about habitat mitigation and enhancement by the Chair of meeting, they provided no specifics and just referred to the hollow and nebulous comments in their proposal. Our Ecologist immediately followed up and asked for the specifics. Vattenfall gave no answer. We can only presume that is because their mitigation and compensation plans are exactly what we predicted they would be. Just blatant greenwashing.

Later in hearing the council’s Local Development plan was discussed. They have very sensible policies on ensuring protected species such as the wildcat, are not adversely impacted by development. Vattenfall immediately tried to claim that the council’s conditions were far more stringent than the National government policy and the relevant legislation in this area. This is entirely false and so we immediately responded. We made the point that in fact the Local council’s development plan, exactly mirrors and aligns with both National policy and the legislation. The fact that Vattenfall considers strict conditions around the issue of protected species to be onerous, is another very clear indication of the contempt they have for the Scottish wildcat and other protected species. It’s so very sad to see a supposedly environmentally responsible company behave like this.

Anyway, we are very happy that we made all the points we wanted to make and that further fundamental flaws in Vattenfall’s proposal have been exposed. WE are confident that in the context of the new government policy document’s, their proposal looks more absurd than it did before.

We are tired but very satisfied and will of course update you on the next developments.

Thanks so much for all your messages of support and donations. We simply cannot keep fighting without you. Sometimes we cannot reply to all the messages, but we can guarantee that we read every one of them and they give us the energy we need.

Once again sincere thanks and keep watching.

The Wildcat Haven Team

Update 43

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 7, 2023

PUBLIC INQUIRY HEARING TOMORROW- LIVE WEBLINK BELOW

Hi All

This is just to let you all know that the Public Inquiry hearing for the Clashindarroch windfarm, will happen tomorrow the 8th February at 10 am (UK time). The hearing will focus on how recent policy documents published by the Scottish government and the Local Council (who themselves object to the windfarm) impact the application put forward by Vattenfall.

Having reviewed all documents and produced our written submissions we feel that the policies greatly strengthen our position for refusal. They all state the need to enhance and protect existing key habitats and reinforce the point that biodiversity should be protected and restored. The plans put forward by Vattenfall are simply irreconcilable with these policy documents.

For example, Government Policy states:

‘Policy Intent: To protect biodiversity, reverse biodiversity loss, deliver positive effects from development and strengthen nature networks’. 

How is it possible to reconcile this policy with the destruction of a site that even the Vattenfall concede is of National importance for wildcats? The simple answer is that it can’t be reconciled. 

 

The Local Council’s Development Plan states:

'Development affecting any European Protected Species will not be approved unless:

 it is required for imperative reasons of overriding public interest; and

 there is no other satisfactory solution; and

 the population will be maintained at a favourable conservation status in its natural range’.

This is all extremely sensible and very encouraging to see. 

The proposal is not of overriding public interest and cannot be argued to be so. It would generate less than 1 percent of the National energy requirements. Also, and this is a very important point, there is an alternative proposal that is actively and currently being developed by Infinergy that whilst adjacent to the Clashindarroch, would not involve large scale destruction of wildcat habitat. Further it is admitted by Vattenfall that at least 5 wildcat territories will be negatively impacted and so again, it cannot be argued that this priceless population will be maintained at a favourable conservation status.

As we have said, the policy documents reinforce our previous arguments and it’s very encouraging to see that the policy and the science is fully aligned. Key habitats and crucial populations of protected species should be protected not destroyed. This point will be made loud and clear to the inquiry.

Here is the link we have been sent if you want to listen in or watch tomorrow:

https://dpea.public-i.tv/core/portal/home

We will of course update you on what happens.

Thanks so much as always.

Very best wishes

The Wildcat Haven Team

Update 42

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Jan. 26, 2023

PUBLIC INQUIRY UPDATE

We just wanted to confirm that our written submissions have been sent in for the upcoming Public Inquiry hearing on the 8th February. As we mentioned before Christmas, the Inquiry has been reopened so that all parties can put forward their views on recent policy documents produced by National Government and the Local council.

We are in no doubt that the policy documents at both the national and local level strongly reinforce our objection to the Clashindarroch 2 windfarm proposal put forward by Vattenfall. There is consistent reference to the biodiversity crisis and the need to restore, protect and expand key habitats and to improve and enhance biodiversity. Indeed they make Vattenfall’s plans to destroy the most important Wildcat habitat in Scotland sound ridiculous, which of course it is.

It is also important to remember that the Local Council are also strongly objecting to Vattenfall’s plans and have submitted a very compelling written submission.

Meanwhile Vattenfall’s submission in regard to the wildcat, continues to roll out the same old rubbish about how great their EIA was and how well they surveyed for wildcats. Meanwhile in the real world, we identified 96 deficiencies in their EIA approach and simple scrutiny of their wildcat survey techniques, suggest that they appear designed not to find wildcats. Their ecologists set camera traps without even using bait. You really couldn’t make it up. Also let’s not forget that we have already shown you evidence that Vattenfall deliberately withheld information about the presence of wildcats in the Clashindarroch and we have had whistleblowers come forward who say they were told not to report the presence of wildcats by Vattenfall representatives. It’s sinister stuff. Vattenfall also claim that they can mitigate the destruction of key wildcat habitat by planting trees elsewhere. As is common sense to anyone, it will take at least 15 to 20 years for any planting scheme to mature. What are the wildcats supposed to do in the meantime?  Vattenfall simply have no answer to this and that's because there isn't one. 

We will post up the full documents and links in due course, but we just wanted to let you know that we are well and truly committed to this fight and it is all to play for. Here is an extract from our submissions:

6 Conclusions

6.1 All three of the newly adopted or emerging policy documents that the DPEA has asked participants to consider, strengthen the case that the proposed Clashindarroch II wind farm is the wrong proposal for the wrong site. The revised policy framework is now even better aligned with the weight of scientific literature, and the pre-eminence of principles which the applicant’s scheme consistently seeks to go behind – such as the mitigation hierarchy and the precautionary principle. It is clear and unambiguous that this proposal should not go ahead. The risks to biodiversity, and to the Scottish government’s reputation for biodiversity conservation, if the scheme were to be granted consent are simply too great, and in any event far, far higher than the benefits of a less than 1% (and possibly now even less) contribution to renewable energy demand and targets. Clear alternatives to taking that risk are multitude, both nationally and (increasingly so) locally.

6.2 This is an early test of the revised and emerging policy framework and its improved recognition of the interconnected nature of the energy/climate and biodiversity/nature crises. We welcome the policy revisions and we now look to the Reporter and to Ministers to ensure that they have meaning, and are capable of delivering on the Scottish government’s commitments, nationally, internationally, and morally to protect and conserve the Scottish wildcat and not betray the nation’s rarest and most iconic mammal’.

 

We think that says it all really. We are fighting really hard and won’t give up until the wildcats are safe. If you want to support our work then you can do so at:

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

We will provide an update on Finlay next week, but rest assured he is doing wonderfully well and the vet was delighted with his progress when he attended last week.

Many thanks

Emily (Director) 

Update 41

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Jan. 20, 2023

NEW WILDCAT IMAGES- GREAT START TO THE NEW YEAR

Hi All

It has been a very exciting start to the New Year. As you will remember we were investigating a potential Wildcat sighting in a new area. The initial image looked promising but we needed a better look. We advised the local person assisting us which bait to use and some tips for camera set ups and it has worked perfectly. We have got close up images taken on a very remote farm surrounded by wildcat habitat.

You will see the thick, blunt tail, good body striping and that the dorsal stripe stops at the base of the tail. This is a huge cat. I the sequence of pictures on our news page, the first one is of a domestic cat disappearing around the gate post. The next images are of the Wildcat. It dwarfs the domestic cat. Not difficult to see why the domestic cat beats a hasty retreat......

This is how our project works, we rely on excellent local knowledge and support to provide leads and then when the first cat is found, we always find others. This is how we found the populations in the Ardnamurchan and Morven and it is also how the Clashindarroch population was discovered. It all starts with that first glimpse.  So we will now start the process of finding out how many others are in this new area. This wildcat must have parents and potentially offspring, so we need to find and protect them. There are some parties that try to convince the public that the free living population of Scottish wildcats is functionally extinct. Well try telling that to this wildcat and the wildcats in Clashindarroch and elsewhere. We will continue our work to protect the magnificent Scottish wildcat in the wild where it belongs.

Here is the link to our news page and the pictures. We hope you enjoy seeing them, we certainly did.

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news

Updates on the upcoming windfarm hearing and Finlay will be coming soon.

As always thanks so much for your continuing support and keep watching.

Very best wishes

Emily (Director) and Finlay


Update 40

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 14, 2022

MAGICAL FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW

We hope you are all keeping warm and well during the winter. We wanted to share with you this beautiful photo of cat tracks found deep in the heart of the Clashindarroch forest. Imagine the scene of a magnificent wildcat crossing this log whilst patrolling its territory. We can say with a high degree of certainty that these tracks were made by a wildcat. They were found in a known wildcat territory but also simply because we do not find domestic or feral cats in the heart of the forest. It is just too harsh an environment for them to survive. This is what makes the Clashindarroch so special. It is a huge block of almost continuous forest cover, in an elevated position and it experiences severe winters. This keeps domestic cats out which reduces the risk of hybridisation and ensures that a population of wildcats exists there.

It is always exhilarating when we are carrying out field work and setting camera traps in wildcat forests. They are of course one of the rarest and most elusive animals on earth, but the excitement of catching a fleeting glimpse is a feeling that never diminishes and keep our field workers motivated in even the most extreme of conditions.

The Scottish Wildcat is a hugely significant part of Scottish culture and heritage and plays a key ecological role as the top predator. Imagine if the wildcat disappeared, condemned to extinction through greed and ignorance. The Scottish Highlands just wouldn’t be the same and the magical feeling of hiking in a wildcat forest would be gone.

Well, we won’t let that happen and we are currently carrying out monitoring work across 4 geographic locations in Scotland. We are determined to find and protect every single priceless wildcat.

If you want to help us to continue and expand our fieldwork then you please consider these options:

You can adopt a wildcat at the links below. They make great Christmas gifts and are available in postal and digital versions. Simply nominate the recipient and tell us where to post or email the pack. Thanks so much to all of you who have already done this, we really appreciate it.

This is the link for postal adoption packs:

https://www.wildcathaven.com/wildcat-adoption/adopt-a-scottish-wildcat

 

This is the link for digital adoption packs:

https://www.wildcathaven.com/merchandise/online-adoption

 

We are fighting hard and we are extremely grateful for your continuing support.

Finally, we will provide a further update on the Inquiry next week as we find out more about the reopening of proceedings. 

Very best wishes as always

Emily (Director) and Finlay.  

Update 39

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Dec. 6, 2022

PUBLIC INQUIRY REOPENED- A MUST READ

It is with great surprise that we are letting you know that the Public Inquiry for the Vatttenfall windfarm in the Clashindarroch, has been reopened. You will recall that in October, we requested that the Inquiry consider significant new information about a windfarm proposal put forward by Infinergy. The Infinergy proposal would be adjacent to the forest but not within it. This alternative proposal would not result in large swathes of prime wildcat habitat being destroyed. Our request for the Inquiry to consider such important information was flatly refused. We were told ‘ At this stage in the process, bearing in mind the report has been completed, the reporter would only re-open the inquiry if significant new information came forward that was not already part of the inquiry evidence’.

However, it is now clear that Vattenfall have been lobbying Scottish Ministers and have made an appeal to those Ministers. Almost unbelievably, the Public Inquiry has now been reopened. There appears to be double standards here. Further, it of course begs the question, what have Vattenfall seen that no other party has seen? What decision is being appealed?

We have been informed of an upcoming hearing and have emailed the Inquiry to highlight our concerns. We are being asked to make written submissions without even being given sight of the appeal lodged by Vattenfall. This information is currently being withheld.

Also, hearing dates have been set without checking if any of the objecting parties are even available. And as if all that isn’t strange enough, we are being asked to make written submissions on policy documents that are currently being rewritten.

Not for the first time, something here stinks and remember, Vattenfall still don’t have a land lease agreement in place for the windfarm, yet they are pushing ahead and have now made an appeal to the Scottish Ministers resulting in the reopening of a closed Inquiry.

We have of course contacted the Inquiry expressing our grave concerns and we have made the following requests:

i.  Can copies of the appeal and all related documents submitted to the Ministers by Vattenfall, be circulated to all parties?

ii. Can there be a pre- hearing online meeting, to arrange the availability of all parties?

iii. Can the timescales be extended (this could of course be addressed in any prehearing meeting) in order to not disadvantage our participation and possibly the participation of others?

iv. Can you please give an explanation as to the inconsistencies in process, regarding both the inclusion of new material and the lack of the prehearing protocols which have previously been followed?

v.  Can the written submissions and hearing take place after the relevant policy documents have been finalised?

This is of course a major development in our fight to save the Clashindarroch and its priceless wildcats. We are up for the fight and will never give up until the fight is won. You can see the forces we are up against, but we are not deterred, indeed we are greatly encouraged that Vattenfall are going to such lengths in what can only be seen as a desperate attempt to keep their reckless and disastrous proposal alive. We have no idea what twists and turns lie ahead but we are going to need the full support of all of you. Please keep supporting and sharing our campaign. 

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

We wanted you all to be the first to know about this significant development and we will of course keep you updated at every stage.

Thanks as always

Emily (Director) and Finlay.

Update 38

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Nov. 22, 2022

ENCOURAGING FIRST GLIMPSE IN A POTENTIALLY NEW WILDCAT AREA

Hi All

We wanted to update you on an exciting new development. We are currently monitoring for wildcats across multiple areas. We have previously found wildcat populations on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, Morvern and of course the Clashindarroch. However this is a tantalizing image of a potential wildcat found in an entirely new area. Even though the picture isn’t fully in focus it is possible to make out that distinctive, thick, clearly ringed and blunt tail. Cats with this clear diagnostic trait, normally turn out to be high scoring wildcats. It also looks like a large and bulky animal and the body looks to be striped, but we definitely need more images. Therefore the camera has been rebaited and we are hopeful that we will get a clearer picture soon. Once confirmed we will then roll out a bigger camera trap program to see if there are others. Where you find one, others are often found in adjacent territories. By using this step wise process, we are then able to build up a picture of the population in any given area. We also rely heavily on sightings information provided to us by local residents. That is how we obtained this encouraging first image.

We will keep you posted on developments, but we are excited about the possibility of finding and protecting a potentially brand new population of wildcats. This is exactly how our project work started in our other study areas including the Clashindarroch.

The weather has been unseasonably mild but as we go further into winter, we are getting the first frosts. Winter is the best time for camera trap survey work because as it gets colder and their prey becomes scarce, wildcats more readily come in for the bait that we use. As mentioned, we have cameras now active across 4 large areas of Scotland so we are hopeful for an exciting winter ahead.

We remain on standby for the decision on the Clashindarroch windfarm and we will give an update on Finlay next week. He is absolutely thriving.

You can find our previous news updates on our website:

www.wildcathaven.com

Keep watching and thanks as always

Emily (Director) and Finlay.

Update 37

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Nov. 15, 2022

POTENTIAL ALTERNATIVE TO VATTENFALL'S CATASTROPHIC PLANS

We wanted to draw your attention to a very significant development regarding Vattenfall’s plans to construct a second windfarm in the Clasindarroch Forest. We strongly believe that Vattenfall’s plans would be catastrophic for the wildcats that live there. However, there is now a seemingly viable alternative to this destruction. Another company called Infinergy have proposed a windfarm that is adjacent to the Clashindarroch forest but wouldn’t involve the extensive forest clearance that the Vattenfall proposal would.

The Infinergy project would be built on open moorland which isn’t valuable wildcat habitat. You can see in the map above that the land bounded by red is outside the forest. Of course, we would like to see that every effort is made to mitigate any disturbance to the wildcats by this Infinergy plan, but on the face of it, it seems like a very sensible alternative with vastly reduced potential consequences for the critically endangered Scottish wildcat. Furthermore, at a proposed generation capacity of up to 195.2 MW, it would represent a greater generation capacity than Vattenfall’s Clashindarroch II plan.

We have stated all along that we are of course pro renewable energy as long is it is the right development for the right site. The Vattenfall proposal clearly isn’t, but the Infinergy proposal is potentially a lot more sensible.

As part of the planning process, authorities are duty bound to consider alternatives as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process. We have duly brought this alternative proposal by Infinergy to the attention of the relevant government department and we will shortly be reaching out to the Ministers who will ultimately make the decision on the Vattenfall proposal. We will be making the case very clearly, that the Infinergy proposal represents a higher output windfarm without the destruction of a wildcat forest.

This is the link to the Infinergy proposal.

https://www.clashindarrochwindfarmextension.co.uk/the-project/

We reiterate that we of course would like to hear more about how the Infinergy proposal would mitigate and reduce disturbance in the adjacent forest, but this scheme is certainly an interesting and potentially strong reason for refusal for the ministers to consider. Of course, this is on top of the overriding point that regardless of the Infinergy proposal, the Vattenfall proposal is simply the wrong development in the wrong site.

We will continue to update you at every step of the way and we stand ready to act, should the unthinkable happen and the Vattenfall proposal is approved. There is so much at stake so keep watching and thanks for your continuing support.

Very best wishes

Emily (Director) and Finlay

Update 36

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Nov. 4, 2022

CRUCIAL WINTER AHEAD- WINDFARM DECISION NOW WITH MINISTERS

We hope you are all well. We wanted to give you an update on the Vattenfall windfarm proposal. As you know, we took part in a number of hearings at the Public inquiry which took place earlier this year. Your support allowed us to utilise the services of specialist environmental lawyers and ecologists. We are extremely pleased with the arguments and the case we were able to present. We gave the Scottish Wildcats that call the Clashindarroch home, a voice when otherwise they would have had none.

We have now been informed that the report from the Inquiry is completed and has been presented to the relevant Scottish Ministers. The Ministers will now either approve or refuse the development. We have not seen the report yet, but once it is available we will share it with you.

As we have said all along, this windfarm development will be catastrophic for the Clashindarroch wildcats. Indeed even Vattenfall have conceded that the Clashindarroch is a site of National important for the wildcat and they even presented evidence that demonstrated wildcat kittens could be killed during development and adults displaced. It’s therefore unimaginable to us that any Minister would want to sign off a development that would be a major contributor to the extinction of the wildcat in the wild. We therefore remain hopeful that the Ministers will reach the right decision.

So it’s getting to crunch time now. Be rest assured that we are on standby to act accordingly should the unthinkable happen and the destruction of this vital wildcat habitat is approved. In this scenario we will need each and every one of you to be ready to help us.

In other news, we are also currently surveying what is possibly a new population of wildcats. We have found signs of wildcat in some extremely remote locations on the west coast and we currently have cameras set to get images and videos. This is a really exciting and new phase of our work.

Finlay continues to thrive and regain his condition. We are so delighted that he has now almost fully recovered from his horrendous ordeal. We will update more very shortly and post a video of him.

You can keep up to date with news on our website and you can subscribe to receive newsletters as well at the bottom our web pages. 

https://www.wildcathaven.com

Keep watching as it promises to be a very busy and important winter ahead.

Very best wishes as always.

Emily ( Director) and Finlay

Update 35

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Oct. 4, 2022

LOGGING DURING THE BREEDING SEASON CONFIRMED- WE HAVE All BEEN LIED TO

Hi All

We wanted to update you on the evidence of logging in the Clashindarroch during the wildcat breeding season. The logging had been carried out by Forestry Land Scotland (Formerly the Forestry commission Scotland). As you will remember, many of you directly contacted the Chief Executive, Simon Hodgson raising your concerns. In the response to your emails, you received a standard response from a regional Manager called David Leven, stating categorically that they had not carried out logging during the breeding season. We simply didn't believe the response and so we followed up and requested further information.

We now have the further information and it confirms that logging was indeed carried out during the breeding season. Forestry Land Scotland have admitted to logging during January and February. February in particular is arguably the most important time in the breeding season as it is the time when mating is due to occur and females are pregnant. Disrupting mating and stressing pregnant females means less wildcat kittens being born. It's simple biology. The birds and the bees. See the image above which is found in a government document. It shows that February is a crucial time in the breeding cycle.

Further, their response states that they apparently surveyed the site for 8 months prior to logging. So why not carry out operations in November and December. Why carry them out at the most crucial mating time for Scottish wildcats? As we say, no mating, no kittens, no dens to disturb. Ask yourself this. If you wanted to prevent a population from growing, when would you choose to disturb it....

We will leave you to draw your own conclusions as to the timing of the logging.

The facts are that yet again, Forestry Land Scotland, who claim to be partners in the government wildcat conservation plans, have been caught logging in the breeding season and had the nerve to lie to us all about it.

More betrayal, more lies, and it is once again the precious population of wildcats that suffers. Remember, if we were not monitoring in the Clashindarroch, then this disturbance and destruction would go on unchecked and unnoticed. The wildcat would have no voice.

You can see the letter from Forestry Land Scotland which confirms logging in the breeding season on our news page at the below link. See point 1 on page 2.

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news

We will be following up on this information with the Forestry Stewardship Council as we strongly believe that the actions of Forestry Land Scotland in the Clashindarroch, breaches the conditions of certification and accreditation. We will keep you all posted and ask you to join us in our complaint. You may also want to follow up on the responses that you received from Forestry Land Scotland, in which you were all blatantly provided with misinformation.

We will update you all fully on Finlay next week. He is progressing well.

Thanks as always

The Wildcat Haven Team ( and Finlay)

Update 34

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Sept. 13, 2022

FINLAY FIGHTING BACK

HI All 

As promised here is an update on Finlay’s progress. We are delighted to be able to tell you that he is doing extremely well. He is by no means in the prime condition he was in before he was seized by the police. However, he is infinitely better than when they returned him after 4.5 months in their custody. Behaviourally, he has regained a lot of his confidence and he is now bright eyed and interested in life. Crucially, the over grooming has stopped. This stereotypical behaviour is a coping mechanism that animals develop when placed in overbearing captivity. We still do not know where Finlay was kept by the police but is abundantly clear that the conditions caused a mental and physical deterioration in him.  

Physically, Finlay has gained weight. We have sought veterinary advice at regular intervals and increased his food intake gradually. Such was the level of deterioration, there were concerns about putting too much pressure on his kidneys and digestive system. When he was given back to us, he was listless and had a poor appetite. He is now eating almost twice the amount of food he did when he was returned. He is also gaining muscle coverage and strength by the day and his energy levels are much higher.  

Another significant milestone is that Finlay has now been deemed well enough by vets to be wormed and vaccinated. This has now been done. Imagine how weak Finlay had to be for a vet to previously consider such routine procedures too risky.  

It has taken a long and emotionally draining ten weeks of thoughtful care by our team, to bring Finlay back from the brink. We must admit, that in the first couple of weeks, every day was nerve-wracking. We shed many tears as we feared for his survival. Those fears have now reduced, although we always remain vigilant for any signs of relapse. It will still take months for him to regain his full condition, but we are here for him every step of the way. You can see in this photo taken last week, that he looks much stronger and brighter and it's clear that he is very interested in exploring his surroundings. He is such a beautiful boy and has come back to life. 

As you all know, Finlay had a very traumatic start, being orphaned and found soaking wet and close to death in the Highlands. He fought hard to survive and under our care, he transformed from that weak and vulnerable orphan, into a strong, confident and beautiful adult. Suddenly, without warning on the the 14th February 2022, he was seized by the police and detained for 4.5 months. We can only imagine the stress, anxiety and suffering he endured during this time. You have all seen the photos of his deterioration in previous posts. However, for the second time in his short life, he has been forced to fight for his survival and that is exactly what he has done. He did not deserve this unnecessary suffering in police custody, it is completely unacceptable.  

This cannot be allowed to happen to any other animal again and so it is vital that all those involved in Finlay’s wrongful detention and all those responsible for his mental and physical trauma, are fully held to account. As we have said, we have instructed a fantastic legal team and the first stage of seeking redress is underway as we put together the strongest case possible. We do not know how long the process will take but like Finlay, we can give you a cast iron guarantee that we will fight as hard as possible and never give up. We will endeavour to see that Justice is done and that Finlay gets the future he deserves. Finlay cannot speak, so collectively, we must speak for him. We know that Finlay has touched all your hearts, so if you want to support our ‘Justice for Finlay’ campaign then please visit: 

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice-for-finlay-1/

We will keep you updated every step of the way and will put out some video of Finlay very soon. 

Thanks so much. 

Emily (Director) and Finlay  

Update 33

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Sept. 7, 2022

WINDFARM PUBLIC INQUIRY REPORT IMMINENT

We were informed at the end of July that the crucial Public Inquiry report regarding the Clashindarroch windfarm, was at an advanced stage. Now that the summer break is over we are expecting it imminently. We have shown you the closing submissions we submitted and we sincerely hope that our concerns are strongly reflected in the Inquiry report and that a recommendation for refusal of the windfarm will be made. As we have said many times before, we are pro renewables but it has to be the right development at the right site. This simply is not. It is important to note that the Public Inquiry report will be passed to the relevant Scottish Government Ministers who will make the final decision. At this stage we do not know how this will all play out, but rest assured, we stand ready to act if the windfarm threat isn’t removed. Remember, even Vattenfall themselves produced evidence at the Inquiry that wildcat kittens can be killed and adults displaced during the construction phase. It is simply unthinkable that this windfarm will be given the go ahead. However, we need to be ready for all scenarios and we will need the support of each and every one of you going forward, so please keep watching.

Meanwhile, we wanted to say a huge thanks to all of you who contacted the Forestry and Land Scotland about our concerns of logging during the breeding season. We know that many of you contacted the Chief Executive, Simon Hodgson. We have also seen the standard response he sent out to you all. It was far from satisfactory from our point of view so we have emailed Simon to follow up. You can see our email in the news link below. It was sent this morning and we hope for a prompt response. You will also see at the news link a supporting email we refer to. It clearly shows that Forestry and Land Scotland, have very little understanding of the distribution of wildcats in the Clashindarroch. This of course makes their claims of mitigation and risk management far from credible.

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news

Please keep watching and thanks again for all of your support. There is hugely important few months ahead.

A full update on Finlay will be put out next week.

Thanks again

The Wildcat Haven team and Finlay

Update 32

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Aug. 23, 2022

LEGAL TEAM INSTRUCTED AND FINLAY IS COMING BACK TO LIFE

Just a quick message to say a massive thankyou to all of you who have supported our ‘Justice for Finlay’ campaign so far. We are off to a flying start which has enabled us to immediately instruct a fantastic legal team who are specialists in complaints/actions against the Police. We are already getting together all the documents that they will require to present the strongest case possible. Nothing but the best for Finlay and we won’t be holding back.

Finlay is definitely getting better; he has been back with us for 2 months now. He will be seen again by the vet today to monitor his ongoing progress. He still has a long way to go to regain his bulk but we will get there. Crucially though, he is enjoying life, he is getting more active by the day and perhaps most importantly of all, he is getting back that glint in his eye, that he used to have. That steely glare and those piercing eyes are now more apparent. As a lot of you will know with your own animals, it's all in the eyes. A number of you have asked to see a picture of Finlay’s face and we managed to get this picture of him this morning. He is coming back to life.

We will keep you posted on developments on all fronts.

Once again, you are an amazing community of supporters and from the bottom our hearts thank you so very much. Finlay can’t speak so collectively we all speak for him.

Please share this link to our campaign as widely as you can:

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice-for-finlay-1/

Very best wishes

Emily (Director of Wildcat Haven) and Finlay

Update 31

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Aug. 19, 2022

JUSTICE FOR FINLAY- A MUST READ

First and most importantly, Finlay is still alive. He is improving but physically there are still many months of recuperation to go, such is the level of his deterioration. We promised to show you recent pictures of Finlay after he was returned to us. Well here is one of them and we apologise in advance if this causes upset. The picture above shows the extent of his physical demise. You can clearly see his rib cage and how his body collapses inwards between his rib and pelvic area. This is called pronounced abdominal tuck. Look how gaunt his back end is. His leg and hip bones are very visible. The muscle that once covered his shoulders and rump has now disappeared. He has lost all of his bulk. You will also note the poor condition of his coat. That once sleek and shiny coat is now scruffy and patchy due to the excessive shedding he has endured. 

Click on our news link to compare the above picture (and another one) to a video taken just days before Finlay was seized by the police. You can see he was in absolutely prime condition before his detention:

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news

It is clear that Finlay has endured unnecessary suffering during the 4.5 month detention by the police. An independent vet report shortly after Finlay's return states:

'At my general clinical examination, the cat appears underweight, with palpable ribs and bones, with reduced muscle masses if compared to a normal 20 months old male cat. The cat appears continuously and interruptedly self-grooming, hair is disomogeneous and hairs can be easily be broken/pulled off'. 

This assessment is unambiguous and highlights the severe stress and trauma Finlay has endured. Incredibly Andy Dunbobbin, the Crime Commissioner for North Wales, has publicly claimed that 'all standards of care were adhered to'.  Well, we have extremely strong evidence that this is simply untrue. There is clearly a lack of acceptance that the treatment Finlay received caused suffering and this goes all the way to top of the Police Force. 

As you all know, we fought hard to get Finlay back and we could not have done it without your support which allowed us to employ the best legal team we could. 

WE GOT HIM BACK THANKS TO ALL OF YOU. 

Our priority over the last few weeks has been to ensure his recuperation from his time in police detention. Finlay is a fighter and he is making progress. However, he should never have been exposed to this misery in the first place. He should not have been seized, he should not have been detained for 4.5 months and he should not have endured mental and physical suffering whilst in police custody. To add insult to injury, the police still refuse to release Finlay's vet records despite our pleas that they will better inform his onward care.

We know that many of you care deeply for Finlay and from the thousands of messages we have received from you, we know too that there is a strong feeling that those responsible for what has happened, should be fully held to account. It is not right and it is not acceptable and it must never happen again to any animal.

We therefore move to the next phase of our campaign which is to obtain 'Justice for Finlay'. Our legal team who helped secure Finlay's return, now stand ready to hold the police to account. They have advised us to set up a standalone crowdfunder for obtaining Justice for Finlay and ensuring that he gets the future he so rightfully deserves. Finlay cannot speak, so collectively, we will speak for him. If you want to support the next phase of our work please visit:


https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice-for-finlay-1/

Thanks so very much
Emily (Director of Wildcat Haven) and Finlay.

Update 30

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Aug. 11, 2022

LOGGING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WILDCAT BREEDING SEASON

First of all, just to let you know, Finlay is still alive and making progress. As you can imagine his recuperation is quite an intensive and emotional process, but we are optimistic. We are planning next steps with our legal team and will update fully next week so please keep watching.

We wanted to update you on the findings of our fieldwork in the Clashindarroch yesterday. We are very upset to tell you that we have found evidence that Forestry and land Scotland (formerly the Forestry Commission Scotland) have been recently logging in the Clashindaroch. This pile of logs in the picture above were so fresh you could still smell the resin from the cut logs. As we are all aware, this is a crucial time in the breeding season for wildcats and there is very likely to be females in dens with kittens. In previous posts and at the Inquiry, we have shown you that the Forestry and Land Scotland have no knowledge of den sites or any real handle on the wildcat territories. However, the area that has been felled is in prime habitat where we have found evidence of wildcats. 

Wildcats are strictly protected by law and it is illegal to disturb wildcat den sites or even resting places, or to do anything that will negatively impact on the viability of a population. Well logging in the breeding season is extremely reckless and illegal. It also shows the continuing contempt shown by the Forest and Land Scotland for the Scottish wildcat. Remember, this is the same organisation that are partnering with Vattenfall for the new windfarm which by their own admission will negatively impact at least 5 wildcat territories.

The Clashindarroch contains the most important population of Scottish wildcats in existence. All we ask is that these beautiful animals are left in peace to breed in safety and rear their priceless offspring. It is simply not acceptable to be carrying out logging activity that could disturb breeding females. Logging involves the use of heavy machinery, harvesters, articulated lorries, all of which would be terrifying to a nursing mother and could lead to abandonment of den sites and the death of kittens. 

We have previously tried in vain to stop Forestry and Land Scotland logging in the breeding season. We have raised complaints and even reported it to the police. Yet still they continue with impunity.
The Chief Executive is called Simon Hodgson. On their website it says, 'Simon is committed to ensuring the forestry sector meets the highest standards in the interests of all its employees and contractors'.
His email is this:

[email protected]


The National Wildlife Ecologist for Forestry and Land Scotland is called Kenny Kortland. On one occasion, we met with him and showed him multiple videos of wildcats in the Clashindarroch. Shortly afterwards he gave a quote in a national newspaper, claiming we only showed him one wildcat video. Why would a person in this role downplay evidence of wildcats in the Clashindarroch? We raised a complaint about his conduct and again it was dismissed. HIs email is:


[email protected]

This organisation clearly won't listen to us and have dismissed previous complaints. Perhaps Simon and Kenny will listen to you. These people should be accountable and answerable for what is happening.

We are more determined than ever to save the Clashindarroch and it's priceless wildcats and we continue to closely monitor what is happening there as we await the decision on the new windfarm. There is a lot at stake here and we know that we we have over a million of you right behind us all the way.

As you can see we are fighting hard on all fronts and Finlay updates will be provided next week.

You can find out more at:

www.wildcathaven.com
 

Thanks as always


The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay

Update 29

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

July 21, 2022

FINLAY UPDATE - POLICE INVESTIGATION

First and most importantly, Finlay is still alive. Psychologically, he is showing encouraging improvement and is more interested in life, but physically there is still a long way to go, such is the level of his deterioration.  As our vet has said, his full recovery will take many months. The thought of what he has had to endure is deeply upsetting, but we are giving him all our positive energy and we know you are too. As we all know Finlay is a real fighter. The vet will be seeing him again on Friday so we will update you when we can. We will also show current pictures of him when we get the all clear from our legal team.

We wanted to inform you of a significant event. As you all know, on the 14th February 2022, Finlay was seized without warning or justifiable reason, in a dawn raid by 4 police officers and a vet, who arrived in 3 vehicles. The police then began an investigation. We were informed last friday that after an investigation lasting over 5 months, they were taking 'No Further action'. We of course fully expected this to be the outcome as we have followed best practice throughout and everything we have done in regards to Finlay has been publicly presented to over a million people. We have never had anything to hide and this has now been borne out.

They had 3 officers working on this case so it's likely that hundreds of hours of police time have been wasted. The cost of the whole investigation when you include police time, costs of detaining Finlay in a so called specialist animal conservation facility, transport costs (Finlay was transported somewhere 4 hours away) etc, is very likely to be a 6 figure sum. This is tax payers money and police time that should be utilised fighting crime. So the upshot of this sham of a police investigation is that no charges have been brought and so the only tangible outcome is a traumatised and abused Finlay. That is the net result of the police efforts.

We have maintained all along that the original complaint made to the police would have been malicious and a deliberate attempt to damage our project.  We now fully expect that the police turn their attention to the original complainant.  It is clear that the complainant has caused a significant waste of police time.  Who was it, what were their motives? There are many unanswered questions.  As with everything, the truth always comes out.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales is Andy Dunbobbin. He was elected into this role in 2021.

The Commissioner has four main duties, which are to:

Set out the priorities for policing in North Wales

Decide the budget for North Wales Police

Hold the Chief Constable to account, and to

Listen and respond to your views on policing

It is our belief that this investigation represents chronic failures many of which fall under the duties of Commissioner.  Was the seizure of Finlay a police priority, was this investigation a good use of the police budget, what role has the Chief Constable played in this and finally, has he listened and responded appropriately to your views?  In terms of the last point, we know that many of you have personally contacted Dunbobbin. We also know that every single one of you who have shown us his response, has expressed, disbelief, disappointment and in many cases outrage at his email and the statement he links to. As you have all seen, we demolished the statement linked to by Dunbobbin in an earlier update. We exposed the misleading narrative and the omission of crucial details. In short it was a biased statement designed to defect and divert. It fooled absolutely no one and guess what, that joke of a statement has now been taken down. The link no longer works on the police website.

Perhaps the worst thing of all, is that instead of admitting that Finlay had medical issues when in police custody and that his welfare was compromised, Dunbobbin instead chose to endorse the treatment that Finlay was subjected to.  Indeed in his words , 'all standards of care were adhered to'.  Well we have extremely strong evidence that this is simply untrue. He also told many of you that he was unable to provide further detail whilst the investigation is ongoing. Well now the investigation is over so he no longer has that reason.  It's now time for the whole truth to come out. 

Many of you have asked us how to complain about the conduct of Dunbobbin. Well on the North Wales Crime panel website, it states, Complaints about the Police and Crime Commissioner should be addressed to the Lead Officer/Legal Advisor to the North Wales Police and Crime Panel, Conwy County Borough Council, Bodlondeb, Conwy, LL32 8DU or email [email protected]

It is important to note that this is a County council dept and not a police department. This is because Dunbobbin is in an elected position. It also of course means that you won't be clogging up any police systems which we hope are being used to fight actual crime, rather than traumatising animals.

As you know, we are a determined team and we will not stop until everyone who has played a part in Finlay's wrongful detention and abuse are fully held to account. This must never be allowed to happen to any other animal ever again at the hands of the North Wales Police.

We are going to need the support of every single one of you in the coming weeks, so please keep watching and keep in touch. Your thousands of messages of support have meant so much to us and Finlay, during this distressing period.

Finally we will leave you with this. The police have still not provided us with Finlay's vet records. Their contempt for him continues.

To keep up to date please visit: 

www.wildcathaven.com

Thanks as always,

Emily (Director of Wildcat Haven) and Finlay.

Update 28

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

July 15, 2022

WINDFARM CAMPAIGN UPDATE AND A MILLION SUPPORTERS

As promised here is an update on the Clashindarroch windfarm campaign (WITH  LIVE LINKS). First of all, our petition has now smashed through the million mark which is major milestone and makes this one of the best supported petitions on the whole platform.

https://www.change.org/p/scottish-government-save-the-scottish-wildcat-by-protecting-clashindarroch-forest

Crucially, it sends a very powerful message to decision makers that there is massive public objection to the planned development at the Clashindarroch. It makes it clear that rather than destroy the habitat, it should be protected as a stronghold for the precious Scottish wildcats that call it home. Sincere thanks to each and every one of you who have signed and shared this petition and donated to our cause.

The Public Inquiry hearing took place in early February. We have been waiting to share the video file of the session with you for months but the version on the Scottish Government website had significant technical issues. It's important to note, that all of the other inquiry sessions that weren't involving wildcats, worked perfectly. Another coincidence hey!!!!
We have had to chase this up for months and the technical issues have only just been resolved.

The applicant, Vattenfall, gave evidence first. To summarise, it was a blatant attempt to play down the importance of the Scottish wildcats in the Clashindarroch. Apparently they are all now hybrids, when before we launched our objections to the windfarm, the Scottish government called it a 'Wildcat Wonderland'. They even tried to go further by suggesting that the Scottish Wildcat doesn't exist at all and is just a European wildcat. They clearly have no grasp of the fact that the Scottish wildcat has evolved in isolation from the European mainland for over 9000 years. It even looks different to European wildcats, particularly the ones in Iberia. They tried to argue that planting trees in other places would mitigate the clear felling for the windfarm. What are the wildcats going to do in the 15 to 20 years that it takes for a new forest to establish. Just complete nonsense. Basically the first 4 hours of the inquiry are a cringe worthy attempt by the applicant, trying to defend the indefensible. 

A crucial to point to remember is that evidence submitted by Vattenfall states,  'Hence, the construction phase presents potential hazards that can lead to the killing of kittens in particular, or to the displacement of wildcats'. Despite this Vattenfall and the Scottish government still want to build this windfarm.

We have previously informed you about the blatant attempts by Vattenfall to withhold information and crucial reports. We have told you that whistle blowers have come forward saying that Vattenfall told them not to inform the relevant agencies about the presence of wildcats at the Clashindarroch site. It's all pretty shocking stuff.


If you go to 4 hours and ten minutes when the afternoon starts, you will see the Vattenfall legal representative, Marcus Trinick QC, trying to prevent key evidence from being heard at the Inquiry. One such document was a report that showed evidence of wildcats on the site in 2013. The report was paid for by Vattenfall and has their logo on it. Apparently they had never seen it. Vattenfall failed to disclose this to the Inquiry which can only be seen as a deliberate attempt to mislead. However if you click on this link you will see that they eventually admit to its existence. Apparently, they couldn't find it before!!!!!. Lies upon lies upon lies. Here is their admission of its existence:


https://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/Document.aspx?id=828305 

The rest of the afternoon session is when our 2 expert witnesses give evidence. The first is a highly experienced Ecologist, Dominic Woodfield. The second is one of our Directors and Scientific advisor, Dr Paul O'Donoghue. We are delighted with the way the afternoon session went and feel that all the points we wanted to make were made and crucially, backed up by peer reviewed, scientific literature. 


Here is the link to the whole Inquiry session:


https://dpea.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/650101

After the Inquiry we then had the opportunity to provide closing submissions. Our legal representative Susan Shaw has done an amazing job of bringing all this information together. The main points we made are as follows:
The Clashindarroch is a site of National importance for wildcats. Even Vattenfall concede this
At least 5 wildcat territories will be negatively impacted. Again Vattenfall concede this.
This development could lead to an extinction vortex for the whole population.
There are huge uncertainties and flaws in Vattenfall's Environmental Impact Assessment.
The risks of the development far outweigh the benefits.
This is simply the wrong development at the wrong site.
We reiterate again that we are pro renewable energy but it cannot be development at all costs.


You can read our closing  submissions at this link:


https://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/Document.aspx?id=842418


So what happens now?
Well we are currently waiting for the reporter to give her recommendations to the Scottish Ministers. We of course hope that the Reporter recommends refusal. To do otherwise, would in our opinion be catastrophic for the Scottish wildcat in the wild. If ultimately the decision is made by ministers to grant permission, then we can and will take this to Judicial Review and try and get the decision overturned. At some point, surely someone is going to put an end to this madness. As we have said before, if there were pandas in the forest, no one would even consider such a reckless development. So why is the beautiful Scottish wildcat which is 70 times rarer than a giant panda, not given the same respect..


We hope you can see the huge amount of work and effort our whole team have put into this Inquiry. Remember, if wasn't for Wildcat Haven and all of you, then the Wildcats of the Clashindarroch would have no voice at all and this development would be a certainty. Of course we can only carry out such campaigns because of the amazing support we receive from you. So thank you so much for making this all possible. The fight isn't over, there is a long road ahead, and we will need every single one of you with us on every step of that journey.


Here is our website where you can find out more:


www.wildcathaven.com

All the very best
The Wildcat Haven team and Finlay

Update 27

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

July 15, 2022

WINDFARM CAMPAIGN UPDATE

As promised here is an update on the Clashindarroch windfarm campaign. First of all, our petition has now smashed through the million mark which is major milestone and makes this one of the best supported petitions on the whole platform.

https://www.change.org/p/scottish-government-save-the-scottish-wildcat-by-protecting-clashindarroch-forest

Crucially, it sends a very powerful message to decision makers that there is massive public objection to the planned development at the Clashindarroch. It makes it clear that rather than destroy the habitat, it should be protected as a stronghold for the precious Scottish wildcats that call it home. Sincere thanks to each and every one of you who have signed and shared this petition and donated to our cause.

The Public Inquiry hearing took place in early February. We have been waiting to share the video file of the session with you for months but the version on the Scottish Government website had significant technical issues. It's important to note, that all of the other inquiry sessions that weren't involving wildcats, worked perfectly. Another coincidence hey!!!!
We have had to chase this up for months and the technical issues have only just been resolved.

The applicant, Vattenfall, gave evidence first. To summarise, it was a blatant attempt to play down the importance of the Scottish wildcats in the Clashindarroch. Apparently they are all now hybrids, when before we launched our objections to the windfarm, the Scottish government called it a 'Wildcat Wonderland'. They even tried to go further by suggesting that the Scottish Wildcat doesn't exist at all and is just a European wildcat. They clearly have no grasp of the fact that the Scottish wildcat has evolved in isolation from the European mainland for over 9000 years. It even looks different to European wildcats, particularly the ones in Iberia. They tried to argue that planting trees in other places would mitigate the clear felling for the windfarm. What are the wildcats going to do in the 15 to 20 years that it takes for a new forest to establish. Just complete nonsense. Basically the first 4 hours of the inquiry are a cringe worthy attempt by the applicant, trying to defend the indefensible. 

A crucial to point to remember is that evidence submitted by Vattenfall states,  'Hence, the construction phase presents potential hazards that can lead to the killing of kittens in particular, or to the displacement of wildcats'. Despite this Vattenfall and the Scottish government still want to build this windfarm.

We have previously informed you about the blatant attempts by Vattenfall to withhold information and crucial reports. We have told you that whistle blowers have come forward saying that Vattenfall told them not to inform the relevant agencies about the presence of wildcats at the Clashindarroch site. It's all pretty shocking stuff.


If you go to 4 hours and ten minutes when the afternoon starts, you will see the Vattenfall legal representative, Marcus Trinick QC, trying to prevent key evidence from being heard at the Inquiry. One such document was a report that showed evidence of wildcats on the site in 2013. The report was paid for by Vattenfall and has their logo on it. Apparently they had never seen it. Vattenfall failed to disclose this to the Inquiry which can only be seen as a deliberate attempt to mislead. However if you click on this link you will see that they eventually admit to its existence. Apparently, they couldn't find it before!!!!!. Lies upon lies upon lies. Here is their admission of its existence:


file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/828305.pdf

The rest of the afternoon session is when our 2 expert witnesses give evidence. The first is a highly experienced Ecologist, Dominic Woodfield. The second is one of our Directors and Scientific advisor, Dr Paul O'Donoghue. We are delighted with the way the afternoon session went and feel that all the points we wanted to make were made and crucially, backed up by peer reviewed, scientific literature. 


Here is the link to the whole Inquiry session:


https://dpea.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/650101

After the Inquiry we then had the opportunity to provide closing submissions. Our legal representative Susan Shaw has done an amazing job of bringing all this information together. The main points we made are as follows:
The Clashindarroch is a site of National importance for wildcats. Even Vattenfall concede this
At least 5 wildcat territories will be negatively impacted. Again Vattenfall concede this.
This development could lead to an extinction vortex for the whole population.
There are huge uncertainties and flaws in Vattenfall's Environmental Impact Assessment.
The risks of the development far outweigh the benefits.
This is simply the wrong development at the wrong site.
We reiterate again that we are pro renewable energy but it cannot be development at all costs.


You can read our closing  submissions at this link:


file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/842418.pdf


So what happens now?
Well we are currently waiting for the reporter to give her recommendations to the Scottish Ministers. We of course hope that the Reporter recommends refusal. To do otherwise, would in our opinion be catastrophic for the Scottish wildcat in the wild. If ultimately the decision is made by ministers to grant permission, then we can and will take this to Judicial Review and try and get the decision overturned. At some point, surely someone is going to put an end to this madness. As we have said before, if there were pandas in the forest, no one would even consider such a reckless development. So why is the beautiful Scottish wildcat which is 70 times rarer than a giant panda, not given the same respect..


We hope you can see the huge amount of work and effort our whole team have put into this Inquiry. Remember, if wasn't for Wildcat Haven and all of you, then the Wildcats of the Clashindarroch would have no voice at all and this development would be a certainty. Of course we can only carry out such campaigns because of the amazing support we receive from you. So thank you so much for making this all possible. The fight isn't over, there is a long road ahead, and we will need every single one of you with us on every step of that journey.


Here is our website where you can find out more:


www.wildcathaven.com

All the very best
The Wildcat Haven team and Finlay

  

Update 26

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

July 13, 2022

FINLAY UPDATE - VET RECORDS WITHHELD BY


Thank you so much for all your messages of support at this very difficult time. We have received thousands of kind messages from all across the world. Apologies if we don’t reply but I can guarantee that they are all read and they lift our spirits and give us great motivation and determination, so thank you and please keep them coming.


Finlay is alive, although physically he is a shadow of his former self. The vet has told us that it will take months of careful care to build him back up, which shows you the level of deterioration that occurred during his time in the custody of the North Wales Police. Mentally, he is improving, his eyes are brighter and he is generally more confident and relaxed. As you all know, Finlay is a fighter and has been through so much in his short life. Neither he nor us will give up now. We have shed many tears along with all of you and we still have a very long way to go. He is certainly not out of the woods yet, but we are hopeful we will make it.


As you will all know, when an animal is relocated and is attended to by a new vet, it is standard practice and indeed of paramount importance that the previous vet records are made available to the new vet. This allows the new vet team to better understand the current condition of an animal and better plan their ongoing care. Our legal team have asked the police on multiple occasions for the vet records for Finlay whilst in their custody. The urgency and importance of them has been stressed. The vet team currently overseeing his care need them. In order to save Police time we have even offered to contact the vets who tended Finlay directly. We have received nothing from the police . As we have made clear, we believe that Finlay's care whilst in police custody, breaches the animal welfare act and that he has unnecessarily suffered at their hands. It appears that by refusing to give us his vet records which could greatly assist and inform his recovery, the contempt shown by the police continues.


The only conclusion that we can reach is that there is something to hide. We will continue to push for them.


Finally, many of you ask how to keep updated or how to join our mailing list. Well if you go to our website and scroll to the bottom of the home page, you can subscribe to our mailing list there. Here is the website:


www.wildcathaven.com



You can also join us on facebook where there is always informed discussion by our 30,000 followers. Here is the link:


https://www.facebook.com/scottishwildcathaven


We will of course keep you fully updated on Finlay and the rest of our work. A Clashindarroch update is on its way.


Thank you so much again and keep watching.


The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay

Update 25

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

July 6, 2022

FINLAY UPDATE


Again thank you so much for all your messages of support at this very difficult time, we really appreciate it. We are very relieved and pleased to let you know that we are seeing signs of improvement in Finlay but we have been told by vets that it may take him months to recover his condition, such has been the level of deterioration. His condition is still so poor that it is not even deemed fit enough to be wormed due to the impact and strain this may put on his digestive system. This makes us deeply upset and angry but we are putting all of our energy into his recovery.


We are aware that Andrew Dunbobbin, The North Wales Police Crime Commissioner has issued a statement which can be found here. We suggest you read it first and then read our comments below:


https://www.northwales.police.uk/news/north-wales/news/news/2022/scottish-wildcat-investigation-update/


Many of you have contacted us about his response and have clearly been able to see the glaring holes and contradictions in this statement and you clearly haven’t fallen for it. It is perhaps summed up best by one of our supporters who commented ‘Does he think we are as thick as mince?’.


Dunbobbin starts by trying to provide reassurance that the ‘experts’ were consulted before Finlay was seized and mentions Natural Resources Wales and Nature Scot. Natural Resources Wales have no experience whatsoever in dealing with Scottish wildcats so that provides little comfort. Nature Scot are the Scottish government agency who are facilitating the destruction of the Clashindarroch forest. You will be very familiar with them from our campaign. They have also removed Scottish wildcats from the wild to put into zoos, then declared the Scottish wildcat functionally extinct in the wild. Crucially they have a proven track record of downgrading wildcats to hybrids. They called the Clashindarroch a ‘Wildcat Wonderland’, then when they realised this would stop development which they would profit from, they claimed the forest was full of hybrids. Not a great start for Dunbobbin.


He claims a license is needed to hold a Scottish wildcat. He conveniently omits the fact that no license whatsoever is required if that animal is being rehabilitated for release. Each and every one of you know that that was our intention from day one.


He claims an independent expert assessed Finlay as a domestic cat. We are pretty sure this expert will be in some way linked to Nature Scot, the habitual betrayers and down graders of wildcats. We will share the report when we can and it makes for embarrassing reading.


If Finlay was so obviously a domestic cat as Dunbobbin claims, then the following questions arise:


Why was he seized in the first place? Finlay is one of the most famous cats in the world and we have posted many pictures and videos of him. Surely those consulted viewed these images. If it’s so clear he was a domestic cat then why didn’t they spot it form the publicly available 360 degree views of him. The fact is that they seized him because he looked like a wildcat. Now apparently he is just a tabby.


Surely they could have assessed him from the pictures available and contacted us or even asked to visit and assessed him where he was. His seizure was not reasonable and completely unnecessary.


If he is so clearly a domestic cat why was he kept in what sounds like a conventional (and poor) zoo enclosure at a specialist animal conservation centre? Do you keep domestic cats at such centres?


If he is so clearly a domestic cat why was kept in this enclosure for over 4.5months. Why wasn’t he returned immediately. Imagine the cost to the tax payer of all this when we are constantly told the police are under resourced.


If he was so clearly a domestic cat why did the Officer who returned him, PC Richard Smith, hand me a bag of (rancid) horse meat. How many domestic cats do you know that are fed horse meat? It also says in notes we have been provided with, that Finlay showed a strong preference for deer rib bones. Is that a common preference or food type for your pet cat.


Next Dunbobbin attempts to reassure us that welfare needs were met and that Finlay showed no abnormalities or issues.

 

However he explicitly states that Finlay had regular visits from vets and then says, ‘ All treatments were given under recommendation by vets’

If Finlay was so happy and healthy then why was he having regular vet visits and why was he being treated? You don’t treat a healthy cat. Dunbobbin’s portrayal also contradicts the notes we have from the police stating ‘He has been having issues with his faecals’. Does that sound like a healthy cat? The notes also mention he as straining when defecating. Does that sound like a heathy cat. All these crucial facts are conveniently omitted by Dunbobbin.

 

Dunbobbin then goes on to talk about shedding and that this is normal. As we all know cats shed according to the seasons, but Finlay should have shed his winter coat long ago. So why is he still shedding now. Why has he not got his sleek summer coat. Does he really think we are all stupid and will be convinced by such nonsense? A cat shedding it’s winter coat in July!!! Wow, you really couldn’t make it up.

 

Fortunately we have an independent vet report that put bluntly, blows all of Dunbobbin’s attempts to placate us, out of the water.

 

In summary, Dunbobbin claims that Finlay is a domestic cat but then describes how he was cared for as a wildcat for 4.5 months at an animal conservation facility at the taxpayers expense. He claims that Finay’s welfare needs were met but then admits that he had regular vet visits and received treatment. He also omits crucial details about the health issues Finlay was clearly having and evidenced by notes we have from the police. We are appalled at the dismissive, patronising, misleading and condescending attitude of Andrew Dunbobbin.

 

You can read Dunbobbin’s comments and then read our critique and you can make up your own mind. I think many of you already have.

 

Remember, Dunbobbin’s statement and the actions of the police must be viewed in the context of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal.

 

In our minds it is abundantly clear that Finlay has been subject to unnecessary suffering and we will do everything we can to hold all those responsible to account. From the thousands of messages we have from you, we know that you are all right behind us.

 

More updates will follow but Finlay’s health remains our number one priority and we will update with the next vet report very soon.

 

Thanks again, as without the weight of your support we would not be able to get justice for Finlay. But with it, we will.

 

Keep watching and best wishes

 

The Wildcat Haven team and Finlay

Update 24

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

July 1, 2022

FINLAY UPDATE- PHYSICAL AND MENTAL TRAUMA CONFIRMED BY VET CHECK

First of all many thanks for the thousands of messages of support, it means the world to us. This is an exceptionally traumatic experience for us and it clearly is for you all as well.

Finlay was seized and detained, in our opinion without due cause or reason by the North Wales Police. He was detained at an undisclosed location for four and a half months until his return on Tuesday evening this week. He left us in prime physical condition and we hoped he would have been treated with due care and respect and returned in the same condition.

However, it is clear that Finlay has experienced serious physiological and psychological trauma at the hands of his captors. We briefly highlighted our welfare concerns in Wednesdays post. As we have now had the chance to observe and assess him, our concerns have grown. He used to have a fantastic appetite and now he is refusing food. The full extent of the deterioration of his body condition is also now apparent. We were so concerned that we called out an independent vet from out of the area (for obvious reasons), to see him yesterday. Our fears and concerns have been confirmed.

These are some of the notes provided by the vet,:

'At my general clinical examination, the cat appears underweight, with palpable ribs and bones, with reduced muscle masses if compared to a normal 20 months old male cat. The cat appears continuously and interruptedly self-grooming, hair is disomogeneous and hairs can be easily be broken/pulled off'. 

This assessment is unambiguous and highlights the severe stress and trauma Finlay has endured. The vet said that his body condition was similar to that of an elderly 18 year old cat. Finlay is less than 2 years old. You can now clearly see and feel his ribcage and shoulder bones. Where once there was muscle, that muscle coverage has gone. The abnormal behaviour of over grooming is very obvious and almost continuous. It’s clearly a coping mechanism that Finlay has developed in response to stress caused by restrictive captivity. Also remember that that the government project ironically called ‘Saving wildcats’, have taken wildcats from the wild to be put in zoos. Their suffering must be equally severe.

We were assured by the police that Finlay was receiving specialist care. Such mental and physical deterioration in 4 and a half months, does not suggest specialist care. It suggests abuse. The police also told us numerous times that Finlay was being kept in a naturalistic enclosure. However, notes provided to us by the police, show that he was kept in an enclosure with a mulch floor. He didn’t even have grass under his feet. He was taken from an expansive, natural and stimulating environment to one that clearly didn’t meet his needs. 

The welfare of animals in the UK, is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Act also contains a duty of care to animals - anyone responsible for an animal must take reasonable steps to make sure the animal's welfare needs are met.

The evidence we have suggests that there has been a breach of the Animal Welfare Act. There is absolutely no doubt that Finlay has been subject to unnecessary suffering and his needs have clearly not been met. The picture that accompanies this post is the meat I was given by PC Richard Smith. It was apparently horse meat and it was what Finlay had been being fed. PC Smith suggested I fed it to him that evening. It was rancid, discoloured and we certainly weren’t going to feed it to Finlay. Looks more like faeces than food. Gives a disturbing insight in the ‘specialist’ care Finlay has been provided with.

Our immediate priority is Finlay’s survival. Some of you have commented that the police returned Finlay when they did, because they didn’t want him to die in their custody. Perhaps there is some truth in that. At least we have him now and he will get all our energy and care to make sure that he pulls through and becomes the magnificent animal he once was. His spirit has been crushed but we will build him back up and we know Finlay will fight hard to survive. We cannot comprehend how this has be allowed to happen and we know you share our disbelief.

So many of you have asked who to contact and who is responsible. Well as Finlay was seized and detained by the North Wales Police, we can only suggest contacting the North Wales Police commissioner.

His name is Andy Dunbobbin and contact details are publicly available at this website:

https://www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/contact-us

What has happened to Finlay is just not acceptable and should never be allowed to happen to any other animal again.

We will keep you posted.

Thanks so much for helping us give a voice to the voiceless.

The Wildcat Haven team and Finlay.

Update 23

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

June 29, 2022

FINLAY IS BACK BUT HE HAS BEEN DAMAGED

On the 14th February 2022, Finlay was seized by the police without warning and we believe without justification. Yesterday at around 4:30pm he was returned to us. He was detained for four and half months and we, along with our legal team have been fighting as hard as possible for his return.

We are exhausted, emotionally traumatised and deeply upset by the conduct of the police, however it is now clear that Finlay too has suffered both physical and psychological damage at their hands. When he left he was in prime condition, his coat was perfect and so was his body condition. He has never had any illness of any kind throughout the entire period of our care.

However, yesterday we were handed a document by PC Richard Smith, the Officer in Charge from North Wales Police. The notes are extremely disturbing. They show Finlay has developed gastrointestinal issues and has had to have medication. It transpires that he was also shedding a lot which is a common response to extreme stress in animals. The notes also suggest that he has been over grooming and as a result the report states,’ His faecals became small, dark and very dry and when broken open were solid with hair’. The report goes on to say he was seen straining. It seems very clear that the extreme stress and boredom has resulted in overgrooming and a dangerously high ingestion of his own fur. Over grooming sadly occurs in so many zoo animals and is a coping mechanism to deal with the extreme captivity they feel.  He never did this in our care. The notes we have, are very sadly evidence of psychological and physiological damage as a result of what has happened to him in his 4 and half month incarceration.

As you have all seen, we housed Finlay in a huge and naturalistic enclosure where he thrived under our care. He had that air of superiority that all happy, healthy cats have. Indeed some of you called him ‘King Finlay’. He was relaxed and at peace and living a stimulating life. The animal we got back yesterday is very different. Gone is the swagger, the confidence, the air of superiority. Instead he is nervous and anxious. We have never heard Finlay yowl before, but yesterday he yowled for hours and nothing we could do would stop him. He was inconsolable. It has had us in tears, it is heart breaking and the thought of what he has endured is almost too much to consider.

However as you all know Finlay is a fighter and we will do all we can to rebuild and fix him so he can be hopefully be happy again.

Throughout this tortuous 4 and half months, in our opinion the police have inflicted unnecessary suffering and cruelty on both Finlay and the people in our team who were looking after him. They have acted recklessly and without due care. The sheer incompetence and lack of compassion they have displayed is astonishing. It is likely that tens of thousands of pounds of tax payers money have been wasted by the police and the result of all that is a damaged cat that simply did not deserve this.

This cannot happen again to any animal (or the people caring for them) and everybody who has had a hand in causing this suffering needs to be held to account. As you all know, we are not afraid of giving a voice to the voiceless and we are more determined than ever to save the Scottish wildcat and also to get Finlay the Justice he deserves.

We are deeply upset, but extremely focussed, so more updates will follow very shortly. In the meantime, Finlay’s welfare is our absolute priority.

And just to clear up some of the misinformation that is floating about. Finlay has not been DNA tested, but more on that later. Beware the trolls, they will be out in force, but is a very sick minded individual indeed, who gloats over an animal’s suffering. Sadly such vile people exist.

Thanks as always.

The Wildcat Haven team and Finlay.


Update 22

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

April 19, 2022

FINLAY STILL NOT RETURNED

Hi All

Apologies for the lack of updates but we are deeply saddened to inform you that Finlay has still not been returned. Nine weeks have now passed and we still have no knowledge of where he is being kept or under what conditions. We are obviously greatly concerned for his future.

It is causing us a great deal of anguish and upset and he is permanently in our thoughts. As we informed you, we have instructed a highly experienced law firm to assist us with this matter. They are in regular contact with the police. In light of the police /lawyer involvement it means there are limitations on what we can share with you all. We share your frustration and are sorry if that’s not as much as you would like but we’re very grateful for everyone’s continued support.

Thank you for all your messages and we will update you whenever we are able to. We are in absolutely no doubt how much Finlay means to each and every one of you and as you know, we don’t give up. We certainly haven’t given up on Finlay and never will. He deserves his chance at freedom.

There is a lot going on and the  Public Inquiry hearing to save the Clashindarroch went as well as we could have hoped for.  Closing submissions are now lodged and we will provide a full update later this week.


Many thanks as always

The Wildcat haven Team and Finlay

Update 21

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

March 16, 2022

WINDFARM INQUIRY UPDATE- VATTENFALL STOOP TO NEW DEPTHS

It is an exceptionally busy time and we are still in the midst of the Public Inquiry process where we are putting forward our case to stop Vattenfall, ( a company owned entirely by the Swedish Government) from developing a second windfarm in the Clashindarroch Forest. This site is home to most important population of Scottish wildcats in existence. Such development and disturbance could lead to the extinction of this population which would be catastrophic for the Scottish wildcat.

We had the actual hearing on the 2nd march and we are now in the process of writing our closing submissions. You can watch the hearing on this link. I will warn you though that it is very clunky and there are technical issues with this link. Strangely, the other non wildcat sessions all seem to work fine. Perhaps just another coincidence hey. Here it is. We give our evidence in the afternoon session 3 to 4 hours in. 

https://dpea.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/649473

Vattenfall have employed a QC called Marcus Trinick and they put forward their Ecological consultant, Mr Paul Bradshaw from a company called MBEC, as a witness. In his witness statement, Mr Bradshaw has admitted that there are wildcats in the Clashindarroch and that the site is of National significance. However, when giving evidence there was a clear attempt to backpedal from this position and claim that they are just hybrids. Trinick and Bradshaw then seemed to take a position that the Scottish wildcat doesn’t actually even exist and that they are not a separate and unique sub species or evolutionary significant unit, worthy of conservation. Perhaps they forgot that the Scottish wildcat has been separated from mainland European wildcats for around 10,000 years.

It gets worse, Mr Bradshaw in his witness statement relied on a  German study that looked at the impact of windfarms on wildcats. He used a statement from the study to suggest that the operational phase of windfarms causes no significant displacement. However, he omitted to comment on the preceding paragraphs which state the following,  ‘the construction phase presents potential hazards that can lead to the killing of kittens in particular, or to the displacement of wildcats’. Mr Bradshaw attempted to convince the Inquiry that windfarms are not harmful wildcats when they operate, but didn’t say that’s because all the wildcats and their kittens have already been killed and displaced during the building phase. It is blatant cherry picking and a total misrepresentation of the facts. Remember that the Ecological consultant is supposed to be independent of Vattenfall and work objectively.

So we had an attempt to dismiss the importance of the Clashindarroch wildcats, followed by a convenient omission that windfarm construction  kills wildcat kittens and displaces adults.

However, they stooped to even lower levels than this. We have previously told you that a whistle-blower had come forward who claimed that the presence of wildcats on the site was kept secret from the relevant agencies. Well just prior to the Inquiry a report was leaked to us. It is from 2013 and is a report produced by the Ecological Clerk of works. This report was paid for by Vattenfall and has their name on the front of it. The report makes clear reference to the existence of possible wildcats on the site. This is of course hugely significant evidence. Such a report should have been provided to the Inquiry by Vattenfall but it wasn’t. At the start of the hearing on the link above, you will see that our lawyer raises this issue and attempts to get the report included as evidence. You will notice the vehement objection by Vattenfall’s QC to prevent this, denying the existence/validity of this document. Well yesterday the document was formally accepted as evidence by the inquiry. The whistle blower was right. Vattenfall have withheld documents from public scrutiny and have consistently betrayed the existence of Scottish wildcats in the Clashindarroch. It is shameless and it is blatant and beyond doubt. Such suppression of crucial information that can impact their development applications, appears to be a clear attempt at Corporate Fraud by Vattenfall. Big money is at stake here. The documents can be seen on our news page at:

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news

So we fight on, uncovering evidence that was never meant to see the ljght of day, giving a voice to the otherwise voiceless wildcats.  We won’t give up and with your support, we can save these priceless wildcats. We are in for a long haul so if you want to support our work, then you can do so at:

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

Many thanks as always.

The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay

Update 20

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

March 14, 2022

FINLAY STILL NOT RETURNED

We wanted to give you an update on Finlay. Four weeks have passed and has still not been returned. We have no have no knowledge of where he is being kept or under what conditions. We are absolutely devastated and we know you all are too. We have received a huge amount of messages of support which we are truly grateful for and please forgive us if we don’t reply. It’s a combination of capacity, but also because this entire situation is just so upsetting.

We have instructed a highly experienced law firm to assist us with this matter. They are in regular contact with the police. In light of the police /lawyer involvement it may mean there are some limitations on what we can share with you all. We’re sorry if that’s not as much as you would like but we’re very grateful for everyone’s continued support.

Thank you for all your messages of support. We share your upset and concern.

We are still engaged in the Public Inquiry and are working on the crucial closing submissions. We will provide a full update on the Public Inquiry this Wednesday so keep watching. 

Many thanks as always

The Wildcat haven Team and Finlay

Update 19

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

March 1, 2022

PUBLIC INQUIRY TOMORROW 9:30 am PLEASE JOIN AND SUPPORT US

Hi All

Huge day tomorrow as we put forward our case in the Public Inquiry, as to why the most important population of Scottish wildcats in existence, shouldn’t be jeopardised by a windfarm that could easily be sited elsewhere. Please click the link below to register and listen in. It will be great to have your support and presence there. It has been a long road to get to this point but now finally, the wildcat will have its voice heard:

https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Flinkprotect.cudasvc.com%2Furl%3Fa%3Dhttps%253a%252f%252fdpea.public-i.tv%252fcore%252fportal%252fwebcast_interactive%252f649473%26c%3DE%2C1%2Cpx7LPJPLj_V5lLlyfVWm2WLxs2pOR9om_nu2fm2-M6C7PDxGM24x84VCRt57FhPOCx5Peg5LqyshF7LQe1-e031axyEOM9mhxLkONJPQaFmvdtRofUzm1E4ZxBI%2C%26typo%3D1&data=04%7C01%7C%7C631f787912d24fb2fae608d9fb966229%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637817445583940699%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=HccqMgA8jNdYn%2FvgFiSAeJrsKSg52cYvxTWMK6pFq%2F4%3D&reserved=0

Update 18

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 28, 2022

FREE FINLAY PETITION

It’s two weeks today since Finlay was taken. Despite asking numerous times, the Police still refuse to tell us where he is or how he is being cared for. We are so worried for his future and are absolutely heartbroken. We feel the Police have potentially been misled and have acted on a malicious report.  We can assure you that we have acted within the law at all times. Our team is of course very familiar with the legislation surrounding wildcats and so we would never breach that legislation. We work closely with environmental consultants and environmental lawyers at all times. As you have all seen, we have cared for Finlay with complete transparency and have very publicly provided great detail about our plans for release and we have provided pictures and videos every step of the way. Finlay’s rehabilitation has taken place in plain sight of nearly a million people on this petition alone. As you have seen and commented on, we have carried out best practice and have absolutely nothing to hide. Indeed we have offered to come into the police station and give information to the police on at least 3 occasions.  

For the avoidance of any doubt, here are the actual pieces of legislation below. It is there in black and white. No offence is committed under either piece of legislation, if the animal is rehabilitated and then released. Indeed, if our rehabilitation of Finlay was illegal, then no wildlife hospital in the UK could effectively operate without breaking the law. Please read the below legislation for yourselves. As a note, being orphaned, dependent on being bottle fed and then needing subsequent rehabilitation, would fall very squarely within the terms of disablement.  

'Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (Reg 44): 

 44.—(1) A person (“P”) is not guilty of the offence under regulation 43(1)(a) of deliberately capturing a wild animal of a European protected species, or an offence under regulation 43(3)(a) or (b), if P shows that the act in question— 

 (a)was in relation to an animal that had been disabled otherwise than by P’s unlawful act; and 

 (b)was done solely for one or both of the purposes of— 

 (i)tending it and releasing it when no longer disabled; or 

 (ii)releasing it after it had been tended. 


 Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) (Section 10 (3))

Notwithstanding anything in section 9, a person shall not be guilty of an offence by reason of— 

(a)the taking of any such animal if he shows that the animal had been disabled otherwise than by his unlawful act and was taken solely for the purpose of tending it and releasing it when no longer disabled; 

(b)the killing of any such animal if he shows that the animal had been so seriously disabled otherwise than by his unlawful act that there was no reasonable chance of its recovering; or 

(c)any act made unlawful by that section if he shows that the act was the incidental result of a lawful operation and could not reasonably have been avoided.' 

 

We are in no doubt at all that we have acted within the law at all times and have absolutely no case to answer. The next question to ask is who made the malicious report and why? As you all know, Finlay was taken on the very day that our witness statements for the Public Inquiry over the Vattenfall windfarm were due. It seems an extraordinary coincidence.

We have tried hard not to inflame the situation for fear it might backfire on Finlay, but now we need maximum public exposure and support, to hopefully make the police see sense and return him safely. So many of you have asked us to set up a specific ‘Free Finlay’ petition. Well here it is. Please sign and share it as widely as possible and let us see if we can get it trending. We will post up some calls to action later in the week.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/129/891/930/free-finlay/
 

Also, The Public Inquiry into Vattenfall's proposed windfarm started today and we will be giving our evidence this Wednesday. You will be able to dial in to watch and we will post the link out tomorrow.

As you can see we are fighting hard on lots of fronts at the moment so thanks for your patience and for your continued support.

Thanks as always

The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay

 

 

Update 17

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 21, 2022

FINLAY IS STILL MISSING

We still have no news about the whereabouts of Finlay, how he is being treated or whose care he is under. Just to be completely honest with you, we are totally devastated. We have also spoken to John and Angela who originally rescued him and they are heartbroken and in disbelief. The stress and worry is almost unbearable for us all. We saved his life and watched him grow as you all have, from a tiny, helpless kitten to a magnificent, healthy and strong animal. He was just a few weeks from release.

When we described the events of the seizure, many of you reacted with disbelief (as did we), particularly as no warrant or paperwork were produced by the police. Many of you quite rightly had deep concerns that is was people impersonating police officers. However it was the police and the incident reference has been published in the media. It was provided by North Wales Police. Here it is: 21000883036

We have sought the best legal help we can and the legal team is working on getting him back. Every additional day Finlay spends away from his rehabilitation enclosure, the bleaker his future looks and that is the most painful aspect of all this. It’s Finlay’s life and future at stake here and he shouldn’t be used a as pawn in a game to get at our project and to try to distract and damage our preparations for this crucial, upcoming Public Inquiry into the Clashindarroch windfarm.

Finlay’s life started terribly, he lost his mother and probably saw his siblings die in the den around him, before he made the brave decision to leave his den to try and find his mother.  He has fought so hard and has never given up. That is what we all must do now, we must show the same spirit he has shown and keep fighting for him.

If you want to support our efforts to get Finlay back and save his wild relatives then you can do so at:

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

We are so sad and in pain, but out of that pain comes a steely determination to see this through to the end. As soon as we hear anything, we will update you.

Thanks as always

The Wildcat Haven team and Finlay

Update 16

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 17, 2022

MAJOR NATIONAL PRESS COVERAGE FOR FINLAY

It has now been over 3 days now and we still have not been told where Finlay is. We are becoming increasingly worried about his welfare. It is causing us so much pain and we dread to think what he is going through.  Every minute he spends away from his purpose built and naturalistic enclosure, damages his rehabilitation. We have received so many kind message of support from you all, and we know that you share our distress.

So many of you have emailed about the importance of getting media coverage about this and you are absolutely right. What is amazing is that without having to do a press release, Finlay is now getting major National media attention. Huge thanks to Danyal Hussain at the Daily mail for this really useful and informative piece. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10519255/Police-seize-Scottish-wildcat-kitten-group-says-rehabilitating-animal.html

Please go and read it. There are many other news articles now circulating but the above article has a major reach. We are working flat out with a highly experienced legal team and we will update you all extremely soon. Keep spreading the word and we just wanted to highlight one thing. As you all know, we are going up against the establishment in this windfarm Inquiry and in other elements of our campaign such as stopping the removal of wildcats from the wild for captivity. Therefore, just be aware of any attempts to troll our project. People may even be being paid to do it. As we get closer to the Inquiry, there will be an increasing attempt to try and damage our project. It's very predictable. We take it as a clear sign that the organisations and people we are challenging are seriously rattled. That is because we have you all behind us.

Many thanks and keep up the fight to get back Finlay back home.

The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay

Update 15

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 16, 2022

FINLAY UPDATE- WE STILL DON'T KNOW WHERE HE IS

Dear All

It has now been over 48 hours since Finlay was taken by the police. Our legal representative had a 25 minute discussion yesterday, with the Sergeant who led the team that seized Finlay. Despite numerous requests, no information was provided as to where Finlay is, who is looking after him and what type of care he is getting. Our position is clear and was made again to the police yesterday.  Every minute Finlay spends around new people and in a less naturalistic enclosure, seriously damages and disrupts his rehabilitation. He could be in a small barren cage in a vet's room with artificial lights and heating, being tested, for all we know.

 

We are extremely worried for him and will hopefully have another conversation with the police ASAP to find out more today. Just for clarity, as we have publicly stated dozens of times, Finlay came to us as an orphan and needed intensive care and rehabilitation. As we have always stated, the intention has been to release him at the earliest responsible opportunity and that would be this spring. Absolutely no license whatsoever is needed to rehabilitate and release him. As you know our team has previous experience rehabilitating wildcat kittens and no license was needed or acquired previously. A license would only be required if we intended to hold him permanently in captivity. The mere thought of that is abhorrent to us. 


We also want to clarify Finlay’s location. He was found in the Scottish Highlands in late October 2020. He came under our care at very short notice and needed expert, intensive care. Our most experienced team member is based in Wales and so that is where he was taken after being fully vet checked. As you all saw, he thrived. A lot of deliberation took place over where to build the rehabilitation enclosure. The issue with Scotland is that there is a right to roam and so any enclosure we built, could have been visited by any hiker, photographer, dog walker and it would have been impossible to ensure Finlay's security. We do however have access to secure and private land in North Wales, away from public view. This was ideal for Finlay’s needs and so therefore he was being rehabilitated in North Wales. It also explains why it is the North Wales police that currently hold him. We hope that clears up any confusion about location. Of course it goes without saying that Finlay’s release site would be in Scotland.


We remain deeply upset, baffled and concerned for Finlay. It is also hard not to be suspicious about the timing of this, just 2 weeks before the Public Inquiry into Vattenfall's proposals to build a windfarm in the Clashindarroch Forest; a proposal which threatens one of the last remaining wild populations of Scottish wildcat. It is public knowledge that we have had Finlay for a year, so why ask the Police to swoop now?


We are heartbroken but have another busy day trying to ensure his safe return. As you know we can’t do this without your support so if you feel you can help us, you can do so at:


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

Thanks again for all your support, it means the world to us. 


The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay


Update 14

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 15, 2022

FINLAY HAS BEEN TAKEN ON THE MORNING OUR WITNESS STATEMENTS WERE DUE

Dear All

It is with disbelief and tears in our eyes that we are writing this.

Yesterday at 8am a team of 4 policemen and a vet came to the private property where Finlay is being looked after and seized him. No warning was given, they just turned up with bodycams turned on and said they were there to take Finlay.

They showed no paperwork before taking him, provided no letter of authority and gave no justifiable reason. We pleaded with them, explained that he is in the process of rehabilitation and that he was due to be released to the wild in the next 6 to 8 weeks. We also explained that capturing him, exposing him to multiple people and disrupting him at such a crucial time, would be catastrophic to his rehabilitation. They did not listen, they did not care. We asked to go with them to the enclosure but we were threatened with arrest if we did so. We had no choice but to  helplessly watch on from a distance. He was captured, taken into the back of a van and taken away.

We asked for details of where he would be taken, what would happen to him, but the police said that they didn’t need to tell us and so Finlay’s whereabouts are still currently unknown.

It was a bewildering and traumatic experience for us let alone Finlay. We tried to find out where he was last night but again the police refused to tell us.

None of this makes sense. As you all know we have made no secret of the rehabilitation process that Finlay is going through and our decision to wait until spring for release. So the question is why was he taken now? We have had him for over a year.

However, yesterday our team were due to lodge their witness statements for the public Inquiry against Vattenfall. Also, last week we made public the news of a Vattenfall whistleblower. Is it a coincidence that on the very morning that our witness statements are due for lodging, that Finlay is seized?

The police said that they were recently made aware of Finlay so the question is by whom? Have Vattenfall or their associates had a hand in Finlay's seizure?  We have to be careful what we say at this stage but you will be able to reach your own conclusions on the timing. Coincidence or malice?

We are truly devastated and still in a state of shock. We saved his life and reared him from less than 4 weeks old. Along with all of you, we have watched him grow and develop into a magnificent animal and now he is gone. We know how much he means to you all and what an inspiration he has been.

Well now we have to fight for Finlay and fight harder than we ever have before, to get him back and into the wild. We are instructing another very strong legal team to urgently deal with this issue. We need the very best for Finlay. We simply haven’t got time to set up another crowdfunder so we are planning to keep using the existing campaign page and allocate funds appropriately.

If like us, you feel that Finlay deserves his chance in the wild then please support us on this page. 

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

Thanks as always, we need your help now more than ever. We will let you know as soon as we hear anything. 

The Wildcat Haven Team and Finlay

Update 13

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Feb. 11, 2022

DISTURBING NEW EVIDENCE FROM A WHISTLEBLOWER

We are getting close to the hearing date of the 2nd March, when the Public Inquiry into the Clashindarroch windfarm proposal will take place. We are currently finalising the witness statements of our wildcat specialist and ecological advisor, which are due to be submitted on the 14th February.

As we have demonstrated throughout this process, Vattenfall (the applicant, and a company owned solely by the Swedish Government), have consistently tried to withhold wildcat data that is clearly damaging to their application. They only released the wildcat data from their Environmental Impact Assessment after a two year wait and even then, they released a heavily redacted version which still conceals crucial information. This is of course just a blatant and transparent attempt to avoid due scrutiny.

However we are now in receipt of some disturbing evidence that provides a much deeper insight into just how far Vattenfall will go, to conceal the evidence of wildcats at their application sites. Information from a whistle-blower has emerged which claims that Vattenfall staff, told ecological consultants who were surveying the Clashindarroch 1 site for wildcats, to withhold evidence of potential wildcats, and not make this information public. This is of course appalling and our legal team is now looking at the best way to present this information to the Inquiry.

If proven, such suppression of key information that would bias an Environmental Impact Assessment in their favour, is potentially an attempt at corporate fraud. We have no reason at all to doubt the evidence we have been shown and it is simply indicative of the way Vattenfall have behaved throughout this process.

As you can see, if we weren’t pushing through with this campaign, then the betrayal of the Scottish wildcat would simply go unnoticed. Your support has shone a very bright light into dark areas and revealed information that was clearly meant to be concealed by Vattenfall.

The Inquiry will bring all this into the open. We are up against a multi billion pound organisation but we are determined to see this through to the end and save this population of magnificent wildcats.

If you can help us then please support our legal crowdfunder at:

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

Many thanks as always

The Wildcat Haven Team.

Update 12

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Jan. 28, 2022

VIDEO FROM THE FRONT LINE- THIS IS WHAT'S AT STAKE

Our Ecological and Wildcat specialists are currently preparing their witness statements for the upcoming Public Inquiry hearing. To really show you the importance of what is at stake, we want to show you a recent video taken by our Director, Dr Paul O’Donoghue. It is from a 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 from 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. 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 11

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Jan. 24, 2022

THE MAGNIFICENT FINLAY- RECENT VIDEO

As most of you will know, we rescued a Scottish Wildcat kitten and have been rehabilitating him for release back into the wild. He is called Finlay. We hope you enjoy this very recent video of him (see link below). He has really grown up well and bulked up over the winter, which is exactly what we wanted to happen. He looks magnificent. The bigger and stronger he is, the better his chances of establishing a territory. You can see that thick, ringed, blunt tail swishing underneath him and when he jumps off the log, just look at his muscle definition. He is developing perfectly as we start preparations for his release into the wild, in a few months time. 

He only sees one person now and is fed mainly from outside the enclosure. The only time anyone enters his enclosure is for cleaning a couple of times a week. The enclosure he has is very large and naturalistic, and allows small mammals and birds to pass through it. Finlay is now a proficient hunter and there are regularly remains of natural prey items near his den site. We need to wait for the spring and then it will be the right time for Finlay to be released into the wild. None of us know what the future holds for him, but we have done all we can to give the best chance of survival. As we all know, Finlay is a real fighter and so we are sure he will do amazingly well. 

Enjoy the video at the link below and more updates will follow soon. 

https://www.wildcathaven.com/news

Thanks as always

The Wildcat Haven Team

Update 10

Wildcat Haven- fighting to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction

Jan. 20, 2022

IMPORTANT FEW MONTHS AHEAD

HI All

A very belated Happy New Year to you all.

We hope you all had a peaceful break. We had a chance to recharge our batteries, but for the last 2 weeks have been working flat out to submit a whole range of documents in preparation for the upcoming windfarm Inquiry. An overview of the process and next steps is as follows:

19th January (yesterday)- Submission of Core documents such as Inquiry statements, habitat pictures, maps, expert reports, the scientific literature we will rely on etc.

14th February- Submission of our witness statements

2nd March- Inquiry hearing

As you can see proceedings are coming to a head. When we are able to, we will share with you some of the documents we have submitted so that you are fully up to speed. Here is an overview of some of the key points that have emerged through the exchange of documentation.

1.       Our Specialist Ecologist has identified a total of 62 points of deficiency or failure in the Environmental Impact Assessment carried out by Vattenfall. In particular, their wildcat sections are absolutely awful, non-compliant and inadequate.

2.       There is a high degree of agreement between our database and the government’s database, confirming, that the Clashindarroch does indeed contain the highest density of Wildcats in Scotland and Vattenfall even concede that the forest is a site of National importance for wildcats.

3.       Vattenfall concede that their planned windfarm expansion will directly impact 5 wildcat territories which constitutes disturbing and displacing up to 20% of the world population.

As we go through this process and the paperwork comes together, it is becoming clearer and clearer how inappropriate and just plain wrong this application is. It also points to an arrogance from Vattenfall, a company owned entirely by the Swedish government, that they think it is acceptable to destroy an integral part of Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage. And just for clarity we are fully supportive of renewable energy schemes if is the right development for the right sight. This proposal clearly isn’t that.

However we fight on and will see this through all the way to the end, and are prepared to go all the way to Judicial Review if we need to. If you want to find out more about our work and support campaign then you can do so at this crowdfunder link.

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

Yours help as always is massively appreciated and vital to our continuing legal challenge.

Finally, we wanted to let you all know that Finlay is doing extremely well and we will provide a full update with our release plans for him, as well as some beautiful recent video. We will plan to put the update out on Monday so keep watching.

Many thanks as always

The Wildcat Haven team.

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:


[email protected]


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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