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OU on the BBC: Saving Species: Series 3, Episode 10

Updated Monday, 5th November 2012

This week the Saving Species team look at Scottish wildcats and the wonderfully named bearded tooth fungi.

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Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris grampia) Creative commons image Icon Scottish Wildcat / Brian Scott / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 under Creative-Commons license A Scottish wildcat Scottish wildcats are seen as an iconic emblem of the unspoilt wilderness of Scotland.

It has been suggested that there may be fewer than one hundred pure bred wildcats in Scotland, with some studies concluding that this species may actually be rarer that the Amur tiger or even extinct as a genetic species.

Saving Species reporter Karen Partridge travels to Scotland to meet Kerry Kilshaw from the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford in the hope of finding one of the last wildcats for herself. In doing so, she looks at the role genetics is playing in preserving this species.

Also in this programme, Professor Lynne Boddy from Cardiff University travels to the New Forest in search of a very rare fungus: the bearded tooth fungus (Hericium erinaceus).

This species is commonly grown commercially, however in the wild it is one of the rarest fungi in the UK. It's importance in the woodland ecosystem as a wood-recycling fungus is giving conservationists cause for concern.

Listen to Saving Species

You can listen to this episode of Saving Species on BBC Radio 4 at 11:00am on Tuesday 6 November 2012. More information and a link to listen again can be found on the Radio 4 website.

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