Returning the wildcat to Scotland

As part of the RSE investigates… conservation series, Dr Helen Senn will speak on ‘Returning the wildcat to Scotland – why it will take a community to save a species’ and will outline the steps taken over the last decade to place the wildcat back on a path to recovery.

Once widespread, wildcats are now on the brink of extinction in Scotland. A sad history of habitat loss, persecution and, more recently, breeding with domestic cats, has forced the species to a point where its population is no longer viable.

The Saving Wildcats partnership project aims to reverse this decline through conservation breeding and the release of wildcats into the Cairngorms National Park, with the first releases being conducted in June 2023.

In her lecture, Dr Helen Senn will outline the steps taken over the last decade to place the wildcat back on a path to recovery and explore why it takes both local knowledge and global scientific expertise to embark on saving a species.

RSE Investigates… Conservation series

Efforts to protect and repair our planet’s natural resources span many areas of concern with experts across the globe dedicating themselves to conservation in their research and its application. The RSE investigates… conservation series will explore the vast and varied work being done in the area, including through several innovative and exciting conservation projects in Scotland: from the conservation of wildlife and environment to the conservation of heritage.

Throughout the series, we will be asking important, and at times tricky, questions about ethics and conservation, why conservation matters, how we engage the broader public in conservation efforts and the role of conservation in addressing the climate crisis and increasing biodiversity in Scotland and globally.

Learn more about the series


A man wearing glasses
Dr Helen Senn


Dr Helen Senn

Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

Helen is head of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Conservation and Science department where she manages a team of 24 conservationists who work on species recovery projects in Scotland and around the world. She has been based at RZSS since 2011. She holds a doctorate in conservation genetics. She is the lead for the Saving Wildcats partnership project which is conducting the first ever releases of wildcats in Scotland.

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Tuesday July 11th, 2023 12:30-13:30