PUPILS from a primary school have taken action to help save the critically endangered Scottish wildcat.
Students at Roseberry Community Primary School, in Great Ayton, have raised more than £120 to purchase a much-needed ethical wildcat trap.
The children, known as the Wildcat Warriors, meet weekly to learn about the Scottish wildcat, as well as other threatened species native to the UK.
They presented the funds to leading wildlife conservationist Dr Paul O’Donoghue of the Wildcat Haven Project at the school assembly on Monday (March 10).
The Wildcat Warriors meet weekly to learn about the Scottish wildcat, as well as other threatened species native to the UK.
The Scottish wildcat is the UK’s only native feline and last large carnivore.
With a recent estimate of only 35 genetically pure individuals remaining, the species is critically endangered.
The aim of the Wildcat Haven project is to determine the number of genetically pure Scottish wildcats in west Scotland, and eliminate the future risk of interbreeding with feral domestic cats. Ethical traps such as the one donated are essential to this work.
Heather Devey, Education Manager at Guisborough-based ecological consultancy Naturally Wild, who devised and set up the group with help from teacher James Moore in September 2013 said: “The Scottish wildcat is the world’s most endangered mammal, yet it receives little public attention. The money that the Warriors have raised will have a real impact on helping to save this charismatic species from extinction.”
Headteacher Helen Channing added: “I am extremely proud of what our children have achieved. Their dedication and commitment to the protection of the Scottish wildcat should be highly commended.”