Wildkatzendorf Hütscheroda

I will replicate this on every wall of my own house.

Last week we spent three amazing days with Thomas Mölich from BUND (Friends Of The Earth Germany) in Hainich National Park in Thuringia. I haven’ t been able to update the blog for a while as our WiFi access has been patchy, but here are some videos for now of the captive German wildcats in the wildcat village (Wildkatzendorf Hütscheroda).

One of the four captive male wildcats in the wildcat village (Wildkatzendorf Hutscheroda) at feeding time.
A second captive male wildcat from Germany, note the ‘washed out’ flank coloration and striping and the very strong black dorsal line, nape and shoulder stripes and tail bands, apparently much more typical in the German populations.

Thomas spent a few days showing us around Hainich National Park where he has worked with wildcats for 20 years. Hainich is 75km2 of beech forest, and the ancient beech forest in the central area is a UNESCO world heritage site. The forest is thought to be home to between 40-60 wildcats and it comprises fantastic wildcat habitat (see photos below) but it is quite isolated from the surrounding forest areas by relatively large areas of agricultural land.

The view from the top of the treetop walk. You can see the edge of the forest is bordered by quite an expanse of flat agricultural land before reaching the Thuringian Forest in the distance.

Safety net for the wildcat

Thomas was the project leader for the BUND pilot project ‘Safety net for the wildcat’, which planned to join fragmented and isolated forest patches using green wildlife corridors. The first of these corridors was planted in Hainich in 2007 by many BUND volunteers, and eventually (after two phases) successfully connected Hainich National park with the Thuringian Forest 20km away. A wildcat routing map was then developed to identify suitable locations for wildcat corridors all over the country, and the project has since been expanded. The full details and history of the project can be found in this leaflet, which provides far better information than I will be able to:

https://constantine.typepad.com/files/20000-kilometers-of-migration-corridors.pdf

The first corridor

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