Luděk Bufka, Josefa Volfová, Hana Bednářová, Elisa Belotti, Jan Dzurja, Milena Prokopová, Pavel Jaška, Jana Pospíšková, Jiří Sochor, Vladimír Čech, Tereza Mináriková, Jarmila Krojerová
Lynx, n.s. (Praha)
In total, 616 reliable records (C1, C2 category sensu SCALP) of wildcat occurrence in Bohemia were collected and analysed in 11 monitoring seasons, “wildcat years” (WCY), 2010–2021. Camera-trapping data accounted for 95% of the dataset, the rest of the records were verified by the genetic analysis of several hair samples, scats, and tissue samples. The occurrence of the European wildcat was confirmed in eight sub-areas, more continuously in the forested border areas of southern and western Bohemia, and more sparsely in central and northern Bohemia. In total, the wildcat occurred at 73 different sites, in 35 mapping squares: four confirmed as category C1, 31 as category C2. The current occurrence in the western part of the Czech Republic is linked to that in neighbouring Germany. The development of modern non-invasive monitoring methods was crucial for the increase in detection of wildcat presence. However, both reintroduction and population increase in Bavaria and climactic change can also play a role as drivers of the recent spreading of the wildcat to our territory. Reproduction was confirmed in two sub-areas (Český les Mts., WCY 2021; Doupovské hory Mts., WCY 2020) and represents the first documented reproduction of the wildcat in Bohemia since the WWII. In some large areas such as the Šumava Mts., we observed a rather wider spatial activity, smaller numbers of individuals and more transient character of occurrence than in other (more restricted) areas, such as the Doupovské hory Mts., where we found higher population density and permanent occurrence with reproduction. Species-specific systematic camera-trapping and genetic monitoring in all areas with confirmed occurrence is highly recommended for the future.