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The Wildcat in Rheinland-Pfalz – Powering the Wildlife Corridor

Wildcat populations in Rheinland-Pfalz are special for two reasons. First, the protected animal population is estimated to stand at 3,000, the largest presence in Central Europe. Second, the wildcats have generally not interbred with domestic housecats and have retained the greatest genetic distance to the pet. That is why Rheinland-Pfalz has a special responsibility to preserve this animal species.

Picture caption: wildcat distribution in Rheinland-Pfalz, Click to enlarge, Source: LUWG

The main distributions of wildcats in Rheinland-Pfalz are located in the Eifel, Hunsrück, Idar-Soonwld and the Pfälzerwald. On the right side of the Rhein River, large areas of the Taunus have been occupied, but the Westerwald south to Montabaur and the Gelbachtal system remain mostly uninhabited.

To allow the expansion and genetic exchange of wildcat populations, corridors should be established connecting the Westerwald to the Taunus and the Pfälzerwald to the Nordpfälzer Bergland and the Hunsrück. It is hoped that the wildcat will, for example, be able to migrate between the Pfälzerwald and the Schwarzwald where population numbers are unclear. Another goal is to have wildcats settle throughout the Taunus, the Rothaargebirge and Hessisches Bergland.

The Wildcats in Rheinland-Pfalz, through their expansion will come in contact with the French population on the northern Vosges and the population in Luxembourg for a widespread genetic exchange. The 20,000km wildlife corridor will breathe life into Germany.