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MANY BRITONS AREN'T AWARE THAT WE HAVE A NATIVE BIG CAT

The Documentary

Scottish Wildcats are affectionately known as Highland Tigers. The name originates from their striped fur and that they’re not only one of Britain’s largest predators, but the UK’s only ‘big cat’.

The Tigers of Scotland is an hour long documentary by Wild Films Ltd and narrated by Iain Glen. It focuses on the fragile existence of the Wildcats, their status and what conservation efforts are being undertaken to ensure their survival. Bringing knowledge of their existence and awareness of their status to a wider audience is crucial to preventing their extinction.

The Tigers of Scotland is distributed by 7 Palms Entertainment and has been broadcast on the following platforms:

Just How Rare Are They?

The Wildcats

Scottish Wildcats are a distinctly different species than your typical domestic house cat and are in fact around 25% larger than your neighbourhood moggy.

Britain's Only Remaining Cat

Scottish Wildcats are native to Britain and were once found throughout England and Wales as well as Scotland. They are now confined to the upper Highlands of Scotland. These animals are elusive and to see one in the wild is an incredibly special event.

Dwindling Numbers

Just a couple of years ago experts believed that there were between 35 and 100 pure breed Scottish Wildcats and up to 400 hybrids. The latest estimate is that there are up to 100 hybrids with the possibility that there are no 100% pure Wildcats left.

Threats To Wildcats

The main threat is hybridisation – this is where Wildcats and domestic cats mate. Hybrid offspring are fertile and the mix of genes can cause problems for these animals. Hybrids with high quality genetics are a potential saviour for the species though.

Conservation Efforts

Several conservation bodies are working to save the Scottish Wildcat from extinction. Their efforts include a captive breeding programme, a programme to vaccinate and neuter feral, farm and pet cats and the monitoring of habitats.

Wildcats in

Myths and Legends

Cait Sìth (pronounced ‘cat-shee’) is a character that appears in Scots, Irish, Welsh and English traditional tales, most notably in the following story The King Of The Cats.

Undoubtedly inspired by the real life Scottish Wildcat, Cait Sìth is just one example of how the now endangered species was once an integral part of the culture and literature of the British Isles. The Cheshire Cat is another such instance – most recognisably in Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland.

The King Of The Cats is an ancient legend passed down over the centuries by word of mouth until it reached the pen of John Rice, our writer and professional poet. Clinic Motion Media created this animation to accompany The Tigers Of Scotland, and with Iain Glen as our storyteller, the tale can be recounted once again.

A few words about

Wildcat Conservation

We’ve spoken to some of the leading experts regarding the Wildcat’s prospect of survival.

Louise Hughes

Aigas Field Centre

With recent research it’s really starting to look like numbers are much, much lower than we first appreciated. Within the Scottish Wildcat population, we really don’t know if there’s even a one hundred percent pure Wildcat. All the ones that have been tested so far, there has been no one hundred percent Wildcat.
Dr Keri Langridge

Saving Wildcats

I would say the Wildcat is probably one of the most rare species in Britain. That’s probably due to two different things. There is the fact that Wildcats, being a cat and being a predator, they’re naturally very elusive animals anyway. But also, there are very, very few of them left, so they’re very rare animals. They’re one of the most difficult animals to see in Britain.
Dr David Hetherington

Cairngorms National Park Authority

I think if we don’t do something – something really significant – we’re going to lose this really iconic, emblematic species from the Scottish Highlands, and that would be a dreadful thing. We’ve really got to work hard, and by “we” I mean everybody who lives and works in the countryside. We all need to be doing our bit because I think we can save it.
Dr Andrew Kitchener

National Museum of Scotland

The Wildcat unfortunately has this relationship with the domestic cat where it produces fully fertile young. So once you get a young hybrid Wildcat/domestic cat, it can breed with a Wildcat again and so you can keep on diluting the genes, and this is a big problem.
A Huge Thank You To All Of Our

Contributors

Thank you to everyone who has contributed towards the film. Without your help this film would not have been possible.

  • Adrian Jamieson Pope
  • Alex Coates
  • Andrew Davies
  • Andrew Pallett
  • Andrew Smith
  • Annmarie Johnston
  • Ben Cockram
  • Caroline Mapplebeck
  • Chris Cronin
  • Chris Fisher
  • Clare Roberts
  • Connie Eggers
  • Dan Tunstall
  • Dave Archibald
  • David Fiedler
  • David Morley
  • Debs Pursey
  • Diana Davies
  • Edward Stone
  • Emmeline Kellett
  • Frank Etchells
  • Gareth Work
  • Gordon Corrins
  • Harold Barham
  • Helen Connor
  • Ihsan Alnasrawi
  • James MacKinnon
  • James Wylie
  • Jane McConnell
  • Jen Hingley
  • Jen Wilkins
  • Jim Nelson
  • Jo Skinner
  • Joan Geice
  • Joe Chappell
  • Joe Medlock
  • Jonathan Rice
  • Jonathon Reynolds
  • Jorge Gonçalves
  • Karo Siu
  • Kyle Cherry
  • Laura Rice
  • Lisa Marley
  • Lloyd Cockram
  • Malcolm Gibbons
  • Malcolm Ranald Paterson
  • Mathew Bishop
  • Mayed Al Qasimi
  • Paul Gater
  • Pippa Wood
  • Rachel Furnival
  • Rewild Scotland
  • Richard Abram
  • Rose Hindley
  • Sal Redpath
  • Sam Cronin
  • Sam Twyman
  • Sandy Scott
  • Scotland: The Big Picture
  • Steph Paterson
  • Steve Webster
  • Sue Barratt
  • Tarek Hijaz
  • Theo De Kok
  • Tobias Palma
  • Todd Ludeke
  • Tom Cottam
  • Vicki Copeland
  • Vincent Sartorius
  • Wendy Meredith
  • Wilco Krul
  • Zoe Davies
Special Thanks To Our

Affiliates

Making this documentary was possible thanks to the following companies and their generous support.

Wild Films

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