A trailcam in Clashindarroch Forset in Aberdeenshire has filmed a Scottish wildcat said to be at least 1.2m long.
“I’ve been monitoring the wildcats in this area for about 2 years now,” says Kev Bell, a fieldworker who recorded the footage, “and been fortunate to get footage of quite a few of these ghost cats; there’s about 10-15 of them here in the Clashindarroch. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw this cat, he is enormous, a magnificent animal.”
The cat’s body is estimated to measure more than 90cm long, with the tail taking it beyond 1.2m, researchers estimate. Wildcats are generally said to measure between 70cm and 1.1m, head to tail.
The camera trap that took the video is part of a network in the forest to monitor Scottish wildcats in the area.
“The cameras give us amazing insight to this priceless group of wildcats which have somehow survived here and avoided hybridisation,” says Bell. “Some people say that the wildcat doesn’t exist anymore but we know differently and wildcats like ‘The Beast’ prove it. This is nothing like a domestic cat, and you certainly wouldn’t want it sitting on your lap!”
The Scottish wildcat is the rarest native carnivore in Britain, having become extinct in England and Wales following years of persecution and woodland clearance.
The Scottish wildcat is larger than the domestic cat © Janette Hill / Robert Harding / Getty (photographed in captivity)