The Scottish wildcat is a critically endangered species, believed to be the last remaining wild feline species in Britain. By some estimates, there are only about 35 of them left in the wild. Their numbers have been decimated through hunting, environmental changes, and crossbreeding with feral house cats. (For all of the cat parents out there, yes, it looks much like a very large tabby.)
But there's a new ray of hope — all thanks to the discovery of 2-month-old orphaned kittens in the Scottish highlands.
They were found dehydrated, hungry, and dangerously close to a road. Now, they have a chance to not only survive, but give a shot in the arm to their entire species thanks to the Wildcat Haven, a group called that's helping rehabilitate these cats.
"I almost fell off my chair when I saw the photos," Wildcat Haven chief scientific adviser Dr. Paul O'Donoghue said. "The markings looked amazing, far better than any kitten I'd seen in a zoo, but in a very exposed place. It seemed likely they had been abandoned or orphaned and were in grave danger."
Wildcat Haven has a donation-based adoption program that aims to do everything from protecting their habitats to neutering the feral cats whose numbers are dwindling thanks to crossbreeding.
As cute as these two rescued kittens are, the real success will be seeing them and others growing up to be like "the beast"— a very large Scottish wildcat that was recently spotted surviving and thriving in the Clashindarroch Forest.
Saving the Scottish wildcat and other endangered species won't be easy, but our united efforts are a win for our planet's biodiversity.
There have been recent success stories of people coming together to make real progress in restoring habitats and protecting the creatures who live there.
Even if you're not a cat person, helping save an entire species is something worth supporting.
Watch a video of the kittens below: