European wildcat

(Felis silvestris)

Species and habitat description

The wild cat is dark, with a gray tone, striped, has long fur and a bushy tail with a rounded tip. The pattern on the head, the dorsal band and the transverse stripes and spots on the trunk are distinct and usually vivid. It is a little larger than a domestic cat. Wildcats are found in a wide variety of habitats, but locally it leaves in dense broad-leaved forests, without any kind of human disturbance. It hunts most of all rodents, hares and birds. It is a solitary species, naturally rare, never too abundant (about 1 - 2 km² home range per individual).

Major threats

It is a least concern species (IUCN, 2015). Major threat is the hybridization with domestic cats. Feral domestic cats also compete with wild cats for prey and space and they can transmit diseases. Other threats are road kills, and habitat loss, including the artificial afforestation with dense exotic pineforests.

Specific conservation action

The wild cat is present in two areas in the site IT4070011 Vena del Gesso Romagnola: Monte Mauro and Riva di San Biagio. In this areas we will maintain and improve forest structure and composition and we will plant hedges around the forests, increasing biodiversity and, therefore, the abundance of prey. We will in general cut the exotic pines plantations.

IUCN (2015) Yamaguchi, N., Kitchener, A., Driscoll, C. & Nussberger, B. 2015. Felis
silvestris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T60354712A50652361.
Riolo Terme, 2018.07.27 Massimiliano Costa