Eradicating wild animals is easy, but reintroducing them is very tedious. With these words willi freibott, chairman of the bund naturschutz (BN) local group volkach, buried the members on the occasion of their autumn meeting in the parish hall volkach. The meeting focused on the topic of "feral cat protection in bavaria.
The spokeswoman of the BN bavaria’s species protection working group, ulrike geise, brought the good news: "the wildcat is back in our forests."This is not a matter of course. In 1920 the last wild cat was shot in germany. In 1984, the BN started a breeding and reintroduction program, which did not have the hoped-for success. Only the efforts from 1988 to 2011 in the spessart had brought the reintroduction of the wild cat decisively forward. Since 2011, there has been the biodiversity project "wildcat jump" of the federal office for the environment, it says in the communication of the BN.
"In the last few years, the attitude towards the wildcat project has changed positively," says the expert. Today, numerous social groups, such as the hunters and public authorities, are behind the resettlement. Road traffic is currently the greatest threat to the lives of the feral cats. It was no use that the wildcat is very shy.
The feral cat can be distinguished from the domestic cat by its massive stature, the eel mark on its back and its thicker tail. Mixing of domestic and wild cats hardly ever occurs. The wildcat has inspired many people in the meantime. In 2013, 150 volunteers had been on the trail of the wildcat. Because the wildcats are so difficult to spot, 480 lure sticks had been used in the woods. 40 wild cats had been detected, three of them in the steigerwald forest. "The wildcats need landscapes rich in structure and original, old forests," emphasizes geise. There they would find their main dish, various types of mice, in sufficient quantity. The wildcat is an "umbrella species": where it lives, many rare animals, such as the deer owl or the pechstein’s bat, also feel at home.
Today a lot is done for the successful reintroduction of the wildcat. In some places, wide green bridges were built over the highways, which were expensive but absolutely necessary. Because humans are cutting up the habitat of the animals with their dense system of trenches and thus restricting them considerably. It is our duty to ensure that the animals can live in a species-appropriate manner. With the corridors cleared out, he says, it is necessary to create green bands that provide a safe network for the feral cats as they migrate.
A nationwide database is currently being created so that the animals can be tracked individually and the distribution areas can be determined. If you are interested in the feral cat project, you can have a look at the "feral cat path plan" on the BN internet site.