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Hainich National Park - a major wild cats habitat in the middle of Germany. Picture: Thomas Stephan, Munderkingen

Range

Distribution in Europe

Not so long ago European wildcats lives almost everywhere in Europe. Today they have disappeared from many original habitats or are threatened with extinction.

Today the once expansive forests account for approximately only 30 per cent of Germany's total land area. Furthermore, this area often consists of arable forests poor in structure. The primeval beech mixed forests have become extremly rare.

Moving to other habitats is almost impossible for the European wildcat because it does not put a paw in cleared landscapes. Ever increasing traffic, settlement areas and agricultural activity in the countryside have driven back forest animals such as the European wildcat to a few remaining habitats.

Because of this distribution results for Central Germany a key role in connecting the populations in Eastern and Western Europe.

Today's spread of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris). Source: Piechocki in Grabe/Worel (Hrsg.): Die Wildkatze: Zurück auf leisen Pfoten (2001)