Scottish wildcats are heavily endangered – it’s estimated that only 35 of them remain.

These highly intelligent, beautiful hunters dwell in the Scottish Highlands and bear a resemblance to domestic cats, but can grow to be double the average size of one. Unlike house cats, they’re also not afraid of water. They can be identified by their distinctive markings.

This video offers a rare glimpse of Scottish wildcat kittens. At just seven weeks old, this brother and sister pair were discovered alone in the wild. The orphans were rescued by a conservation organization called Wildcat Haven, which placed them in a large enclosure, where they have minimal interaction with humans. As the kittens grow, their markings will become more distinct. When they are old enough to survive on their own, they’ll be released.

One of the threats to the survival of the species is the interbreeding of Scottish wildcats with domestic and feral cats. To counter this problem, conservationists are working diligently to protect their habitat and to neuter domestic cats in target areas.

Projects such as the National Geographic Photo Ark, which these kittens were filmed and photographed for, aim to raise awareness of endangered species and inspire people to help save them.

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