Wildcats to be reintroduced to British woodlands for the first time in 200 years

  • Video report by Abigail Bracken

Wildcats are to be reintroduced to woodlands in Kent for the first time in two-hundred years, as part of plans to secure the future of Britain's rarest mammal.

The project will see ten breeding enclosures created in Kent and Decon, which will hopefully establish a wild population of the species.

Wildwood Trust has been clearing ground at its Herne Bay site in preparation for the project, which will see the new enclosures built aware from the main park.

Each one will house a breeding pair of cats, whose kittens will later be released into the wild.

Work on the enclosures has now started. Credit: Wildwood Trust

It's thought a healthy population of reintroduced Wildcats will help to restore balance in the ecosystem, by controlling the numbers of prey animals and predators.

This in turn has a ripple effect across ecosystems, by which habitats for many more plant and wildlife species can be restored.

The kittens will be released into the wild. Credit: Wildwood Trust

Sally Holt, Senior Wildcat Keeper at Wildwood Trust said:

“This is a key step for everyone involved in the project. The breeding of this secretive species can be challenging. Off-show breeding enclosures will create a quieter environment and will help kittens develop key survival behaviour.

 “Wildcats have very particular den box preferences, so we have worked hard with researchers to find the right design for the new enclosures. It will be so exciting to see all this work come to fruition.”