The carnivores are making a comeback in Europe, and the wild cat (Felis silvestris) is one of them. A new study in the southern regions of the Netherlands showed that the wild cat population has increased. The study confirmed at least two nests with multiple kittens. This is great news, as the wild cat is still a rare animal in this region of Europe. Although IUCN does not classify the wild cat as a threatened species, the species is critically endangered on national level in several countries. Just like the wild cat, the wolf and golden jackal are also spreading through Europe.
Wild cats in the low lands
The study, commissioned by ARK Natuurontwikkeling, identified at least 14 individuals in the southern Limburg province. The first Dutch wild cats were sporadically seen in 2002 and 2006. Yet, since 2012 people have recorded wild cats more often. Research in 2015 identified eight individuals, two years later the number grew to 14. The wild cats most likely originate from the German Eifel region and Belgian Ardennes. It seems that the population is spreading also northwards, faster than expected. Wild cats prefer forest areas with least disturbed grasslands. Nature organisations are working to safeguard these habitats for continued presence of the growing wild cat population.