'˜Enormous' wildcat caught on camera in Aberdeenshire forest
Nicknamed the Clashindarroch Beast, the animal was captured on camera in Aberdeenshire’s Clashindarroch Forest.
The creature is estimated to be 1.2m from nose to tail.
Every remote trap is baited with either food or a scent and is fitted with a camera that shoots video whenever an animal approaches.
The footage was gathered as part of the Scottish wildcat conservation project operating across the Highlands.
Wildcat Haven field worker Kev Bell said: “I’ve been fortunate to get footage of quite a few of these ghost cats.
“There’s about ten 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.”
The Wildcat Haven is monitoring a group of 13 wildcats in the area considered one of the important populations of the rare animal.
Kev added: “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.”
Only 35 wildcats are known to exist in Scotland, making them 70 times rarer than the giant panda.
The haven’s project involves the neutering of feral domestic cats across more than 1,000 square miles of the West Highlands.
Video technology is used around the world to identify populations of rare and elusive species such as wildcats.
Steve Sleigh, another field worker with Wildcat Haven, added: “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.”
The Clashindarroch Beast will continue to be monitored as well as wildcat populations in Caithness and Lochaber, where the project began a decade ago.