Badgers (British Wildlife)

My latest round of Badger watching has not been quite as successful as I hoped.

The Badgers have moved to a new sett and that is not on the farm. No worries, they still forage here and I can still watch them. Fizz and I set up a camera in a likely spot (Strapped to an Ash tree) and baited the area with a few handfuls of scattered raisins.

Stop eating the bait!

Little PiggyWhen I talk about baiting an area, I don’t use very much bait. I don’t want people to be able to see it, I have lost two cameras advertising their presence that way and I don’t believe in significantly feeding wild animals. I want them to search for my bait, it keeps them in the area and is cheaper that way. 🙂

Yesterday I went up to retrieve the memory card. The good news was that it had recorded twenty four videos and the bad news was that by the time I got home I had lost it.

After I picked up the card I wandered all over that field playing ball with Fizz because the grass was short and it was a good place to play. My card is out here somewhere.

FieldToday I set out to revisit the area and amazingly I did find it…

Sd CardBut something else had found it first, chewed it up and spat it out again. (pesky animals)

SD CardWhat the hey, we had a good game of ball.

BallThere was a new card to pick up today.

Back in March I saw that one of the Badgers that I am following had been in a scrap and his right eye was closed. That never healed and since then I have been confidently identifying this animal and calling him Patch.

In this first video two Badgers meet and greet each other. The one looking at us has his right eye closed (Hi Patch) When the other one turns around he also has his right eye closed. (Doh!)

This next video shows a meeting between Fox and Badger. This is the first time that I have seen a Badger run from a Fox but I think that it was just surprise.

My next video shows how close the animals can get and still feel comfortable at the end of the video the Fox sits down beside the Badger.

Did you enjoy those videos?

FizzDid you enjoy playing ball and eating raisins?

A few people have asked in the comments section, “Why are they culling Badgers?” I sometimes forget that the internet extends outside of the UK.

They are culling Badgers in an effort to control the spread of bovine TB.

Bovine TB is a disease of Cattle that our wild life can catch from contact with the cows. It is typically spread through contact with urine. Scientists say that 94% of bTB is spread from herd to herd, Cows give it to each other but because Badgers can move freely from field to field if a Badger catches it and goes into another field it can pass the disease on to  uninfected cattle. The same goes for Deer and other wild life.

Nobody is claiming that killing Badgers would eradicate bTB but DEFRA do claim that if they can successfully kill 70% of the Badgers in an area then it might reduce incidences of bTB by between  6 -12% but they also say that figure may be more or less.

If they killed every wild animal in England there would still be bTB in our Cattle herds. It is a disease of Cattle that wild life can catch.

Like any highly contagious disease TB is spread rapidly by overcrowding and poor sanitation, that applies as much to people as it does to livestock and the real answer to the problem lies in taking better care of our animals and keeping them in better conditions.

Many people would prefer to believe that it has nothing to do with the way that we treat our livestock and prefer to believe that if they shoot the Badgers the problem will go away. That can not possibly happen.

Last year DEFRA conducted two pilot culls to determine two things. Was free shooting an effective way to cull Badgers and could it be done humanely? They appointed an Independent Expert Panel to look at these results and their conclusion was that no, the pilot culls had been both ineffective and inhumane. However the Government have decided to repeat the culls without the help of expert monitoring and in that way hope to achieve better results.

The Government’s own scientific advisors have told the Government repeatedly that Badger Culling will not work.

There are effective vaccines against bovine TB for both Badgers and Cattle. European laws prevent us from vaccinating cattle because it interferes with the standard tests for the presence of bTB.

The Badger is a protected species in the UK it is illegal to harm a Badger or to interfere with it’s sett, unless you work for the Government.

For me there is no big debate…

Nasty people do nasty things, that is why they are called nasty and regardless of how many Badgers they kill there will still be TB in our cattle.

Hello little fellas.

My opinions are biased, I like and respect our native wildlife. (But I am also right 🙂 )

18 thoughts on “Badgers (British Wildlife)”

  1. Never understood the part where studies are conducted, experts are consulted, expert opinions are rendered, and then governments do what is politically expedient even when told it will not work.

    Not just there, but here as well. Especially the part about not following their own laws.


  2. Well said Colin. The badgers are brilliant and the fox as well. I agree with your sentiments with regards to the badger culling. I read somewhere that they had started to vaccinate badgers against TB. I was horrified to hear that they would be re-commencing with their blood thirsty and cruel activity in the name of protecting cattle.
    Some people have no intelligence or conscience. If they ever try to cull up here in Yorkshire, I will be amongst those that fight against it.
    Thanks again for a lovely piece and videos. Keep them coming.


  3. I support your belief, Colin. Some people just look for an excuse to kill animals. I don’t like deer hunting season, either. I Scold my neighbor all the time for feeding the deer just so he can kill them. Thanks for sharing what goes on in the UK. And I like you videos, and Fizz, and her little buddy. Happy Trails!


  4. I guess that, as in Aust, where big money is there the govt will be. The Agricultural lobby is very strong, and because of the need for food, I guess that is good. But the blindness towards endangered species is unforgivable. Still, at least your PM is going to NY for a climate change summit along with 120 other H of S while Tony Abbot insists that climate change is ‘crap’


  5. It’s idiocy to have a bunch of non-scientists decide what to do about anything that involves science. We do the same thing here in the U.S. Being a pessimist, I am of the opinion that human extinction is the only hope for our planet.


  6. Thanks for the explanation, Colin. (I was one who wondered about the cull).

    And yes, it is helpful to explain what is seemly cruel to our wildlife.

    Many criticise the Kangaroo culling near farms (or even in the wild) in my country of Australia, but humane culling by licenced professional hunters is necessary to reduce the numbers that compete for food near farm animals. If the numbers of kangaroos get too high, there is not enough food and they become diseased and die terrible deaths. It also strips the field of healthy grass and low foliage, leaving the soil to dry out and the salt ‘table’ to lower. This leads to the deforestation of healthy native forests and decimation of ground cover with severe deterioration of wildlife habitat and erosion.

    Back before white settlers arrived in Australia, the aborigines and lightening strikes created intermittent, but regular, forest fires which ‘cleaned’ out the diseased or unhealthy wildlife and vegetation. Many Australian native trees need high heat to burst open the seed pods of native plants to regenerate so forest fires are actually nature’s way of restoration and rejuvenation.

    So that’s my explanation of culling our Kangaroos (like your Badgers?).


  7. Some farmers don’t really seem to appreciate the truths of Science. We were once told in Cornwall that buzzards carry off lambs. Similarly, I would think having 140 cows together in one field might do them more harm than a few badgers.


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