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Save the wildcat – a best practice example from Thuringia

Location: Hainich National Park, Thüringen, Germany www.nationalpark-hainich.de

Objective: save the wildcat which is sensitive to habitat fragmentation by designing a cross-Länder  ecological  network

Problems: compensation measures suggested by the road building company were to scattered and fragmented

Solutions: knowledge about ecology of the target species (other project beforehand) helped the design of the ecological network; local corridor integrated in the country-wide wildcat network; synergies established with other ongoing land based projects

Results: ecological corridor built as a compensation for the building of a highway

Critical factors of success: good functioning informal network of NGOs and authorities as a result of shared (scientific and conservation) interest in the wildcat; good cooperation between NGOs and land consolidation authorities

Key learning points: use of the wildcat as a flagship species; wildcat needs large undisturbed areas but does not have a negative public image; bring actors together and underpin the process with sound ecological knowledge

Actors: BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) was the driving NGO; road construction company supported compensation measures

Communication: wildcat as a flagship species enabled to communicate ecological connectivity to a wider public

Financing: TMLNU (Ministry of Agriculture, Nature conservation and Environment of Thuringia), DUH (Deutsche Umwelthilfe). DBU (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt), ZGF (Zoologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt)

Location of Germany
Map of Germany, location of Thuringia highlighted

The European wildcat is not to be confused with its cousin the housecat. It is wild, untameable and needs a lot of space to survive.

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