Small tigers in danger: Threat of the wildcatIt is not long ago, there lived wildcats almost everywhere in Europe. Today they have disappeared from many places of their original habitat.
They are still hiding, but soon the young wildcats will explore their surroundings. (Thomas Stephan / BUND)
For a long time, wildcat populations were decimated primarily by hunting. Domestic cats. Shoot them down. But also beating traps and free-ranging hunting dogs during the hunt put them to. Today the losses by hunting are comparatively small, in addition the wildcat is in the meantime under whole-year closed season.
Use of the landscape endangers the wildcat
Roadkill is the most common cause of death of wildcats (Simon Olaf / BUND)
The biggest problem for feral cats today is the increasingly intensive use of the landscape by traffic, growing housing developments, and intensive agriculture. As a result, the animals have been pushed back to a few remnant habitats. These last retreats are scattered like islands in the sea. Isolated feral cat populations living there are very small and correspondingly prone to inbreeding and disease.
In addition, a high number of wildcats fall victim to road traffic. Often young feral cats are run over in search of their own stomping grounds.
Save the wild cat with us
Dense forests, in between light areas – here the wildcat feels comfortable. But today roads, settlements and intensively cultivated fields cross their habitat. With your financial support, BUND can help the European wildcat get back on its feet again. We establish z.B. We create green corridors of trees and shrubs and connect forest areas with each other. Our big and long-term goal is a network of forests across Germany. We have already created 25 corridors in the last 15 years, and more can follow thanks to your donation!
Leave wild kittens in the forest!
Wild kittens that have been carried away have to be reintroduced into the wild at great expense. (A. Bernhard)
In spring, when the wildcats give birth to their offspring, it happens again and again that the kittens are taken by hikers. The animal lovers think they are abandoned house kittens. At home or at the veterinarian the surprise is then large: The kittens cannot be tamed. They must be hand-reared in a laborious manner. To be released back into the wild.
So if you see or hear mewing kittens while walking in the woods, you may have discovered a wildcat family. Now it is said: Please do not disturb! However, if a young kitten is found injured or alone, please inform the BUND. Here you can find the right contact persons in the BUND regional associations. These three wild kittens survived the ordeal. Were brought back to the forest. (Dieter Schmidtke)
Feral cats also often occupy wooden pads to litter and raise their young there. Wood piles, the stacks of felled trunks waiting to be taken away. However, these gathering places pose a real danger to the lives of the animals. Again and again the wildcats are crushed or loaded along with the logs when they are being transported away.
Wild kittens that survive this ordeal should then be returned immediately, because with a bit of luck the mother is still around and finds the kittens again. If this is not successful, the wildcats must first be raised by hand. Then be reintroduced to the wild at great expense.
The BUND demands that from March to August, i.e. during the main littering and breeding season of the wildcats, the polters, if they are located in wildcat forests, must not be cleared away! Storage in a central storage area or immediate removal would also be preferable to current practice.
Wildcat is on the red list
The wildcat belongs to the "specially protected" Species. On the Red List of vertebrates it is listed as "endangered" classified. In addition, it is subject to European protection regulations. In the FFH Directive (Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive) it is listed in Annex IV, which includes "strictly protected animal and plant species of Community interest" and prohibits the killing of individuals of these species or the damaging of their breeding and resting places.