Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pupils involved in Scottish wildcat conservation project

An art project to highlight the plight of the Scottish wildcat has impressed judges in Tayside.

16 March 2009 07:00 AM

An art project to highlight the plight of the Scottish wildcat has impressed judges in Tayside.

Young artists designed posters highlighting the plight of the Scottish wildcat in the Tayside Police Schools Wildlife Crime Project.

Alan Stewart,Tayside Police wildlife crime officer, had the tough job of judging the 1,500 entries in the competition.

Through the project pupils were made aware that the Scottish wildcat is nearing extinction with possibly only 400 pure wildcats remaining.

The cats are in danger partly because of persecution, but also because of hybridisation with feral and domestic cats.

Pupils were asked to design a coloured poster to draw attention to the plight of the Scottish wildcat.

Officer Stewart said in a statement: "Some of the posters were excellent, with considerable thought and a great deal of care going in to them.

"The best of the entries clearly and succinctly show the reasons for the decline of Scotland's tiger. It was a testing project for the youngsters to get the right balance of creativity, art and words. In many instances good guidance was obviously given by their teacher to keep them on the right lines."

The posters and winning pieces of work from earlier stages of the project can be viewed on the wildlife crime page of the Tayside Police website.

The wildlife project was sponsored by Dobbies Garden World in Perth and Dundee and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

A presentation ceremony will be held for all the prize winners at the SNH conference centre at Battleby, near Perth, on May 6.

Prize vouchers worth £1500-worth have been donated by Dobbies will be presented to around 90 winners at the event.

Elaine Faulds, of Dobbies in Perth, said: "Showing children the challenges Scottish wildlife faces in an enjoyable way is very important.

"The Wildlife Crime Project is a fantastic scheme and we are delighted to be sponsoring it for the fifth year."

Ben Ross, licensing officer with SNH, said: "The future of our Scottish wildcat is far from certain. We need more information about them and that's why SNH launched the Scottish Wildcat Survey last year.

"Wildcats are one of our least known and most threatened species. They are shy creatures and their survival partly depends on educating future generations about this magnificent predator.

"That's why it is great to see all the children involved in this poster competition and to have so many fantastic entries. Congratulations to everyone involved."



Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

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