The Scottish Wildcat Association (SWA) says the animals could be extinct in the wild within months as it believes numbers of pure-bred wildcats have fallen to around 35 individuals.

The alarming assessment of the cats? low population figure follows a review of more than 2,000 records of remote camera sightings, eyewitness reports and roadkills. Other research, however, suggests the figure could be higher at around 400 animals. Steve Piper, from the SWA, commented that confusion between hybridised animals and pure-bred wildcats leads to distortion in the population estimates. ?All the evidence collected suggests that just one in 100 of those records is a true wildcat, against a figure in 2004 of one in eight,? he said, adding, ?With a current estimate of 3,500 hybrids this means there are 35 wildcats left and extinction could be imminent.

The rest of this article appears in the 19th September issue of Shooting Times.

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The rest of this article appears in the 4th July issue of Shooting Times.

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