Apologies for the late posting of this morning’s post – technical issues connecting to the database (whatever that means!).
Yesterday’s guest blog by Dominic Woodfield was on a contentious issue – the right way to conserve Scottish wildcats. This is an important issue and I’m grateful to Dominic for writing about it.
What doesn’t seem to be in contention is that the Scottish wildcat is in deep trouble and our conservation efforts to date have failed to work very well.
Dominic suggested that a new, and better, national survey of the Scottish wildcat population would be useful, indeed a potential game changer. That doesn’t seem like the most amazingly contentious suggestion to me – and indeed none of the comments seem to suggest that such a survey would be a waste of time or anything but helpful.
It’s always interesting when a new person comments on this blog, particularly when they do so repeatedly and at length. Yesterday an Alan Peterson and a Paul Paterson commented on Dominic’s guest blog. Paul Paterson’s first comment castigated Alan Peterson for copying something that he, Paul Paterson, had written elsewhere. A later comment by Paul Paterson said he didn’t know who Alan Peterson is. Since Peterson and Paterson made their comments from the same IP address it seems quite likely that they do know each other.
The Peterson/Paterson comments contain a mixture of information about wildcat conservation and opinions about some individuals active in this area. The former are very welcome.
It is difficult to separate views in all walks of life from the individuals who hold those views. And one’s overall assessment of a person’s motives and ability do influence what one thinks of their opinion on any separate issue – if you think that someone is an idiot (or evil) then your view on their next opinion will, probably rightly, be coloured but they might be right this time so it’s a good idea to look at the facts and refresh your assessment.
Dominic’s guest blog raises some interesting and important points about wildcat conservation which deserve consideration on their merits and any comments on those matters are welcome on the original post.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have met Paul O’Donaghue of Wildcat Haven only once (as far as I recall) and that was very briefly at a meeting several years ago organised by Highland Titles near Oban in either 2016 or 2017 where we both spoke. I’ve read quite a lot about him since then but I don’t have any involvement with him. I have my own views on his work but I won’t trouble you with them here. And while we are on Highland Titles, I have spoken twice at meetings they organised. Once in 2016 and again in 2017. At the first meeting I was promoting our e-petition on banning driven grouse shooting and Highland Titles had promoted it to their supporters and asked me to speak. I spoke again at their event in 2017 and haven’t had any contact with them since. I’m still grateful for their support in that campaign (see here). They paid my travel expenses and fed me and put me up for the night. You’ll see that here, where I disclose where my income comes from, I mention Highland Titles in 2017 along with others who asked me to speak at events – I think they should be mentioned in 2016 too (but maybe they didn’t pay any travel expenses that year – I’ll have to check) and if they should then I’ll add them by the end of today.