Wildcat project

Wildcat Project (2013 – now)

Current coordinators:

Ferran Sayol i Marc Vilella

Project promoters:

Jordi Faus i Ramon Pou

Summary:

The wildcat (Felis silvestris) is the only member of the feline family currently living in Catalonia. There are still a lot of unknowns around its behaviour and its exact distribution. In Europe, it is distributed in a fragmented way and one of the main threats for its conservation is the crossing with domestic cats that roam freely in the forest. In our region, the scientific knowledge of the Wildcat is scarce and its conservation status in much of the territory is unknown.

Although historical records indicated that it only inhabits the Pyrenees, individuals have been recently observed in areas of the eastern Pre-Pyrenees and even southernmost. However, there is a lack of studies that assess the presence of populations in various regions and thus know in detail their conservation status. Since 2013, the Wildcat project has used camera trapping to find new wildcat populations and study how they evolve. Over the years, new populations have been detected in different parts of the southern Pre-Pyrenees, such as the Lluçanès or the Bisaura regions, and the Montseny massif. Areas in the eastern Pyrenees have also been studied in detail: Ripollès and Alt Empordà.

Thanks to camera trapping, it has been possible to estimate wildcat densities in some parts of the Osona region (Sayol et al., 2018). Cameras have also provided valuable information about other carnivores that cohabit with the wildcat in our forests. A clear example is the publication of the first record of pine marten (Martes martes) in Osona and the first evidence of its reproduction in Catalonia (Sayol et al., 2015).

Since 2020, the Wildcat Project has been actively participating in a collaborative Plan to monitor the wildcat and other mesocarnivores, promoted by the Catalan Carnivore Research Group (FELIS-ICHN) and the Barcelona Zoo Foundation.

Project objectives:

  1.    Collect information about the wildcat distribution in Catalonia and estimate the density of its populations.
  2.    Study the genetic integrity of wildcat populations.
  3.    Disseminate species knowledge and promote its conservation by involving society in the process.

*You can check Results and other informations in our publcations, links and reports at the end of this page.

Publications:

Coexistence of predators in time: Effects of season and prey availability on species activity within a Mediterranean carnivore guild (Ecology and Evolution)

El gat fer, el felí dels boscos catalans (El 9Magazín)

El gat salvatge (Felis silvestris) a Catalunya: estudi sobre la seva distribució i coexistència amb altres carnívors (Beca Antoni Jonch 2019, Fundació Barcelona Zoo)

El felí dels nostres boscos (Zoo Bcn)

Un “fantasma” recolonitza el Prepirineu (La Vanguardia)

El gat salvatge al Prepirineu oriental: densitat de les poblacions del Lluçanès i el Bisaura (Butlletí de la Institució Catalana d’Història Natural)

Noves cites de marta al Prepirineu oriental i primera cita de reproducció a Catalunya (Butlletí de la Institució Catalana d’Història Natural)

Bachelor’s and master’s degree thesis:

Estudi de la influència antròpica en les poblacions de mamífers carnívors a Osona (TFG del Grau en Biologia, Universitat de Vic – UCC)

The coexistence of predators in time: Effects of seasonality and prey availability on species activity within a Mediterranean carnivore guild (TFM del Màster en Ecologia Terrestre i Gestió de la Biodiversitat, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Competencia interespecífica entre el gato montés (Felis silvestris) y otros pequeños carnívoros (TFG del Grau en Ciències Ambientals, Universitat de Girona)

Links to online contents:

Vídeo divulgatiu sobre la recerca de noves poblacions de gat fer a Catalunya

Efecte Papallona de Catalunya Informació: recent detecció de Gat salvatge al Montseny

Reportatge sobre el Projecte Gat Fer al programa “El medi ambient” de TV3

Anual reports:

Report 2018-2019

Report 2017

Report 2016

 

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