SCOTTISH wildcats are set to be released in the Cairngorms National Park this summer.

The Saving Wildcats conservation project has announced that the wildcats will be moved into specially designed pre-release enclosures to prepare them for life in the wild.

Led by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), the partnership is working to restore Scotland’s critically endangered wildcat population by breeding and releasing them into the Cairngorms area.

These new pre-release enclosures were constructed in 2022 as a core element to the project’s dedicated wildcat conservation breeding for release centre, based at Highland Wildlife Park.

READ MORE: Scottish wildcats to be released for first time in conservation bid

David Barclay, Saving Wildcats conservation manager, said: “The journey to restore a viable wildcat population in Scotland is just beginning and we are incredibly grateful for the efforts of our team members, partners and supporters whose expertise has been crucial to reach this point.

“The large pre-release enclosures are designed to encourage the cats to exhibit their full repertoire of natural behaviours whilst promoting social interactions and communication between cats.

“Our expert keeper team also use a selection of tools and techniques to promote natural activity patterns whilst enhancing key skills needed for life in the wild, including hunting, foraging and scent marking.”

A second breeding season has also begun ahead of next year’s releases. However, the Wildcats are not available for public viewing.