Lying at the northern edge of the Cairngorms, the majority of the Glenlivet Estate falls within the Cairngorms National Park. Covering over 58,000 acres, it comprises over 30 let farms, 8,500 acres of commercial forests and a sporting tenancy including grouse moors, salmon fishing and deer stalking.
The Estate, managed by Crown Estate Scotland, includes a diverse and integrated countryside reflecting the areas upland character and the transition between the Cairngorm plateaux and the surrounding lowlands. A range of habitat types exist, including broadleaved woodland, conifer woodland, upland moorland, rivers and streams, farmland and wetland.
The estates diversity means that Glenlivet has the potential to support a range of wild mammals including the very threatened and very elusive Scottish wildcat.
Delighted to be involved in the work to conserve the Scottish wildcat, Glenlivet Estate has been involved in wildcat conservation since 2010, initially as part of the Cairngorms Wildcat Project and more recently as part of the Scottish Wildcat Action (SWA) project, where the estate forms one of the six priority areas for protecting the species.
Since the start of the project in 2014, around 50 camera traps were installed across the Glenlivet area each winter, for partners SWA to gather data on the distribution of the wildcat and help target a trap, neuter, vaccinate and release programme for any feral cats recorded. The work on Glenlivet has seen a pool of volunteers, gamekeepers and Crown Estate Scotland rangers all come together to monitor the extensive network of cameras.
During the course of the survey work several ‘good’ hybrid cats have been recorded, but as yet a pure Scottish wildcat is to be detected. There is no doubt that Glenlivet has ideal habitat for the species to thrive and it is possible the estate could play an intrinsic role in the future development of a captive breeding and reintroduction programme for the species.
Photo credit - Pete Cairns.