Wachau: Evidence of wildcat population – noe.ORF.at

Environment & Climate

Pictures of the wildcats, which are considered extinct, have not only been successful in the Thayatal, but recently also in the Wachau. There should even be a population of its own. Now the “extinct” status could also be revised.

The wildcat has been considered extinct or lost in Austria since the mid-1950s. According to a broadcast on Friday, evidence of wildcats now proves an independent population in the Wachau. “The status ‘extinct or missing’ should therefore be revised,” said National Park Director Christian Übl in favor of changing the previous Red List category.

“New evidence of wild cats in the Wachau and the long-term confirmations in the Thayatal National Park are now also scientific proof that the reappearance of the wild cat is not a matter of roaming immigrants, but of a local Waldviertel population or individual sub-populations,” said LH Deputy Stephan Pernkopf (ÖVP). He described the return of the animal species “as a success story of nature conservation, especially in Lower Austria”.

Nationalpark Thayatal

Wild cats have been sighted in the Thayatal National Park for years

“More evidence than ever before”

A research project with curling irons and the evaluation of hair samples has been running since 2007. In 2021 and in spring 2022, according to Übl, there was “more evidence in the Thayatal National Park than ever before.” Researchers were able to document wildcats with their photo traps in the Thayatal a total of 13 times. Due to the different fur markings, two different individuals could be distinguished, which was also confirmed by the analysis of the wild animal genetics Senckenberg in Germany. A wild cat with young animals was photographed in the Wachau. So far, a total of seven different individuals have been identified through genetic analysis.

In the Thayatal National Park, the wild cat is also becoming more and more a magnet for visitors, as the broadcast also took stock: 1,908 schoolchildren and their teachers were guests at the wild cat camp this year. A new record was set with 4,642 overnight stays. At 450 m2, the largest wildcat facility in Austria with the zoo wildcats Frieda and Carlo is located right next to the National Park House. An observation platform was newly built.

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