Biologists have observed a wild cat in the Austrian Thayatal National Park. Thanks to initiatives supported by the European Union, the feline beast may be included among the protected mammal list.
Wild Cat Observation in Austria
After camera traps captured a picture of a wild cat in the Austrian National Park in the Waldviertel region in 2003, the researchers focused on observing the European feline beast.
Three years later, a team of scientists from Thayatal National Park began monitoring the wild cat. During the research project, biologists installed baits that attract wild cats with their scent. Researchers collected hairs around the baits and performed a DNA analysis. In 2007, tests showed that it was a wild cat (Felis silvestris).
Numerous other observations confirmed the presence of a wild cat in the Wachau region, about 75 kilometers from the Thayatal National Park.
Endangered Mammal Protection in European Forests
Like other European mammals, including the lynx, bear, and wolf, the wild cat needs strict protection. This also applies to the protection of natural habitats.
In the autumn of last year, the project “Interreg Connecting Nature AT-CZ” was launched with the support of the European Union. As part of the Thayatal National Park project, it cooperates with neighboring partners from the Czech Republic. They work together to learn more about the wild cat.
The main threats to the cats include vehicle collisions, poaching, and accidental killing. Wild cats need enough forests, which is their natural habitat, to avoid a clash with the human factor and to grow their population.