Local-level determinants of wildcat occupancy in Northeast Scotland
Silva AP., Rosalino LM., Johnson PJ., Macdonald DW., Anderson N., Kilshaw K.
We studied the influence of food abundance, land cover and disturbance on European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris Schreber, 1777) presence in Scotland. Wildcat records were collected using camera trapping, and prey data were assessed through linear transects and small mammal trapping. Surveys were carried out in three study areas in northeast Scotland. Wildcat occupancy was best predicted by a combination of food and land cover variables. This species detection was associated with higher rodent abundance and areas of higher habitat diversity encompassing patches of mixed and coniferous woodlands. Wildcat presence was negatively linked with the prevalence of dwarf shrub areas. We suggest that wildcat conservation actions at local scale should take into account the availability of feeding resources and landscape heterogeneity. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.