In Devon, a sheep farmer plans to reintroduce wildcats to the English countryside by launching his breeding program. They have become quite rare in England and Wales due to interbreeding and gamekeepers.
Their numbers have decreased over the past few years. Only a small amount of wildcats remain in Scotland. But even they are facing various risks. There is a chance of this animal becoming extinct.
Derek Gow is an ecologist, farmer, and specialist in reintroducing native species. He established the captive breeding and reintroduction of water voles over 20 years ago and is a crucial player in beavers’ return to Britain.
Now he intends to breed the wildcats on his farm and restore their numbers. He is to receive more wildcats from Scotland.
Derek hopes to have four to five pairs of wildcats in the breeding facility by spring next year. He already has four kittens that will be going to zoos involved in this program.
He aims to reintroduce these wildcats to the English landscape within the next two to three years. Derek even shared a wildcat litter picture on his Twitter account.
In a recent post, Derek mentions that when the wildcats are reintroduced, they will become the ‘kings’ of the countryside because there are no other predators.
Despite Derek’s efforts to reintroduce the wildcats, others are concerned about this act. Phil stocker, a member of the National Sheep Association, is worried that these wildcats might negatively impact other wildlife in the countryside.
Farmers are afraid that the wildcats might harm their sheep, especially lambs. The sheep farmers are likely to face losses due to the reintroduction of an apex predator of this sort.
Derek would like his farm to be for wildlife safaris to help fund his conservation work. Before it can be open for visitors and on-site shepherd’s huts, the wildlife needs to return to Devon.
He admits that if they want to create a landscape for wildlife that people will pay to visit, which could be good for local economics, they first have to put it there.