Watch footage of ‘The Beast’ – a rare Scottish wildcat

A huge Scottish wildcat has been caught on camera.

Wildcat Haven, a Scottish wildcat conservation project operating on field sites across the Highlands, has revealed remarkable camera-trap footage of a wildcat estimated to measure more than three feet long in body length, with the tail taking it beyond four feet.

Named ‘The Clashindarroch Beast’ by the field worker who captured the images, Kev Bell, the cat is one of the largest wildcats ever recorded anywhere in the world.

Kev said: ‘I’ve been monitoring the wildcats in this area for about two years now and been fortunate to get footage of quite a few of these ghost cats; there’s about 10 to 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.’

Remote camera traps are placed in areas that expert fieldworkers like Kev believe wildcats to live, they are then baited with food or scent, and anytime something passes in front of it the camera shoots 30 seconds of video.

The technology is used around the world to identify populations of rare and elusive species such as wildcats.

Kev continued: ‘The cameras give us amazing insight to this priceless group of wildcats which have somehow survived here and avoided hybridisation. Some people say that the wildcat doesn’t exist anymore but we know different and wildcats like The Beast prove it. This is nothing like a domestic cat, and you certainly wouldn’t want it sitting in your lap!’

Steve Sleigh, another fieldworker with Wildcat Haven, explained: ‘These cats are a vital part of Scotland’s wild nature and ecology, and they must be protected wherever they live; they are one of the rarest animals in the world.

‘We have to do all we can to keep this amazing predator in wild where it belongs. Animals like the wildcat should never be locked up in a cage; they epitomise the wilderness.’

Wildcat Haven will continue to monitor the Clashindarroch Beast as well as wildcat populations in Caithness and Lochaber, where the project began a decade ago, successfully neutering domestic cats across over 1000 square miles of the West Highlands.