Wildcats are a fully protected species in Scotland, and that any planned activity, which may affect them, requires prior consultation with the appropriate statutory nature conservation organisation (SNH).



Types of Wildcat Survey

Direct Observation

A preliminary walk-over survey of the site area can determine the presence of features which wildcat might use as dens, and identify any physical evidence that these sites are being used.

The Wildcat is an elusive species and is unlikely to be seen during this sort of survey.

Wildcat dens can include hollow trees, rock crevices, rabbit burrows, disused badger setts, under fallen debris or in old fox earths. A site survey includes a check for physical signs of wild cat including scats, claw marks and paw prints. Such possible wildcat den sites should be noted and mapped for future observation.

Site surveys are can be undertaken at any time of the year but are best avoided in summer months when dense vegetation can obscure physical features.

Specialist surveys

Detailed observation is the only way to determine whether a wildcat den is in use and the confirmation of wildcat presence may require a level of specialist knowledge. Surveys also need to take into account the ability of wildcat to be inactive for extended periods, subject to the season and weather conditions and, consequently, should include multiple visits. A licence to carry out an intensive survey may be required.

Specialist surveys can be devised for a wide range of purposes including camera traps and DNA analysis. Our specialists are always happy to discuss your requirements further.

Mitigation / licensing

Following surveys for Scottish Wildcat licenses may be granted for certain purposes that would otherwise be illegal; such licences for development work must be applied for from the Scottish Government.

Mitigation can be developed based on site conditions.

Why Choose Ellendale Environmental?

Ellendale Environmental ecologists have extensive experience of surveying for Scottish wildcats.

Our ecologists have experience in planning surveys, developing and undertaking mitigation for Scottish wildcats on both large and small sites that ensure our clients are able to progress with their planning applications and developments.

Your development will be in safe hands with our experts at Ellendale Environmental who will work alongside you to ensure that your development is compliant with the law which will minimise disruption to your project. We are able to ensure this through extensive searches of the surrounding area being conducted for the presence of wildcats. If wildcats are present we work collectively to ensure the development process is not hindered whilst protecting the species through implementing appropriate mitigation and compensation measures

The Scottish Wildcat is a European Protected Species (EPS) protected under Annex II and IV of EC Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (the Habitats Directive). The Habitats Directive is transposed in Scottish law by the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994.

Legislation protecting Scottish Wildcats

Wildcat is listed on Schedule 2 of the Conservation Regulations 1994. The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2007 enhanced this protection.

It is an offence to;

  • Deliberately or recklessly kill, injure or take (capture) a wildcat,

  • deliberately or recklessly disturb or harass a wildcat,

  • Damage, destroy or obstruct access to a breeding site or resting place of a wildcat.

This legislation means that wildcat are fully protected in Scotland, and that any planned activity, which may affect them, requires prior consultation with the appropriate statutory nature conservation organisation (SNH).

Wildcats - Find Out More

The Scottish Wildcat Felis silvestris is the only native member of the cat family to be found in the wild in Britain and is a dark coloured subspecies of the European wildcat native to Scotland. Its range previously included England and Wales, but it became extinct in these areas, as well as in southern Scotland, within the last 150 years. The current status of the Scottish wildcat is largely unknown and numbers are estimated at between 400 and 4000.