Wildcats return to Netherlands after centuries’ absence

Wildcats return to Netherlands after centuries’ absence

Rewilding of forests and ‘saturated’ habitats in Germany and Belgium behind growing population

They disappeared centuries ago, but wildcats have returned to the forests of the southern Netherlands, local conservationists have said.

The wildcat, which has longer legs and a flatter head than its domestic cousin, disappeared from modern-day Dutch territories in the middle ages as a result of hunting and forest clearance. The return of the animal, with its distinctive round-tipped and black-ringed tail, is a sign of the rewilding of forests in the southern Dutch region of Limburg, according to Hettie Meertens, a biologist who works for the ARK conservation group.

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