My placement at Wildwood

I have just finished my second week here at Wildwood, which means I only have a week to go! It’s gone so quickly already; I’ve definitely settled in to a routine. Every morning I receive a quick hello from Isla, and then get on with monitoring Isla and Jura for the rest of the day. Both Wildcats have responded well to being observed and no longer take any notice of me. Some days are definitely more interesting than others, my favorite day so far involved introducing Isla to her new enclosure; I have never seen a more excitable cat! Most days however are relatively slow going; Isla and Jura sleep a lot.

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Isla curled up in one of her favourite places having a nap.

I’m learning all about the behaviours of these two Wildcats, and more importantly, what stresses them out, and what they get up to when visitors aren’t there. It is already obvious that Jura is more active when there are no visitors present, a nice confirmation of my initial research!

Visitors to Wildwood have been very interested in what I’m doing, especially after filling out my questionnaires. Many people are completely unaware that Scottish Wildcats are a different species to domestic cats, and have no idea how endangered the species actually is. The general consensus from my questionnaires however is that the talks given on Wildcats change people’s perceptions on the animals, and educate them about how endangered the species is, information which definitely validates keeping these animals in captivity and educating the public about them.

I already have an overwhelming amount of data to sort through, which is absolutely brilliant, and I can’t wait to see what the analysis of my questionnaires show! I couldn’t have done any of this research without the support of Wildwood, especially Sally, Isla and Jura’s keeper.

As of tomorrow I will be observing Isla and Jura with full access to their new enclosure; the possible changes to their behaviour will be interesting to see. I can’t wait to see what the results of my ethogram finally show, and I can’t wait to start writing up my dissertation!

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