Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Wildcat Testing

In a previous post I mentioned that we had our wildcat DNA results in, but one had to be re-tested due to a mix up. Well... a couple of weeks a go all of our cats were due their annual vaccination booster, so this provided the best opportunity to to give them all a full health check and carry out a few record taking tasks.

How do you catch a wildcat? With great difficulty!...

Actually, it's not too bad when you know what you are doing. Keeper Izzy has helped me on many occasions in the past, and with her help we soon had them netted. Our zoo vet, Alan Jones, was on stand by and so within seconds of them being netted we had them restrained and sedated.

After a quick check, record photographs where taken of their pelage (coat markings), as well as key measurements of their anatomy... tail length, hind foot etc. These where all sent off to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland where they are building a database of these statistics, and DNA, of all captive wildcats to see the correlation between results and have a full understanding of the captive population.

Vaccination boosters where given to all, and the reaming cat had a blood sample taken to be sent of for testing. Once all done, the cats where given the reversal, and soon came round.

I mentioned previously that our cats are deemed pure enough for breeding purposes, and so we hope to be able to breed them again next year. The kittens are always very popular, and have such great characters. Not only will this be lovely to share with you all again, but it will be great to be able to directly help with the conservation efforts currently going on with Scottish wildcats.

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