Video described as the ‘rarest cats in the world playing’ is inaccurate

Scottish wildcat kittens playing

There is a cute video described by The Scottish Sun online newspaper as “Adorable video shows rarest cats in the world playing after being rescued by Scottish Wildcat Haven“.

These are described as Scottish wildcat kittens. They were found in the wild in Scotland and rescued by Wildcat Haven and are being raised with the minimum of human intervention to be released in due course.

The issue I have with the newspaper’s description is that most if not all Scottish wildcats are hybrids. Arguably there are no purebred Scottish wildcats left. None, because they have crossbred with domestic and feral cats in Scotland over many years.

It is thought that the Scottish wildcat could well be extinct in the wild (and perhaps totally) but no one wants to admit it. About ten years ago they said there were 400 left in the wild. Now they say the figure is much lower and others think that there may be none except for first generation wild cat hybrids.

The hybrid Scottish wildcat looks very similar to the genuine item only a bit slimmer. The genuine cat is a stocky, aggressive grey-brown tabby cat.

So when they say the video is of the rarest of cats it’s wrong because that description is meant to refer to the purebred Scottish wildcat which is incredibly rare if it exists in the wild.

If it does still exist it is probably no rarer than the Iberian lynx (southern Spain and Portugal) or the Amur tiger (Far East of Russia). The Amur tiger’s population was stable at around 400 for years but has declined recently we are told. The Iberian lynx was known as the world’s rarest wild cat species but the population has stabilised as a last gasp effort was staged to save it from years of sport hunting, loss of prey and habitat.

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