Warwickshire escapes the culling list
This is where you can find the latest news and how you can help us to help our badger population in Warwickshire
HS2 to get derailed in review?
HS2 will decimate Warwickshire and many other counties too.
Will the review scrap HS2 and save our badgers and ancient woodlands?
Watch this space for more information.
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Welcome to our Website
Here to help badgers in Warwickshire
If you would like to join, please do. We’re a friendly, informal bunch and new members are always most welcome. As a member you can do as much or as little as you like. You may wish - through your annual membership subscription - simply to support badger conservation. But if you would like to become much more active and involved you can.
What does WBG do?
Warwickshire Badger Group was formed primarily to combat persecution and that remains one of its primary roles (see badger baiting). But the Group does much more than that. It gives talks, attends shows, provides advice, looks for and records new setts, checks on existing setts, monitors road casualties, helps to rescue and rehabilitate injured or orphaned badgers, and acts as a forum for the exchange of information about badgers in the county. One of our members, Steve Hawkes, is also an accredited vaccinator. For more on that see below.
Sett data: The group has an extensive computerised database of several thousand setts systematically built up since the Group was formed, and is constantly looking for more. The database is currently maintained and overseen exclusively by our recorder Steve Hawkes. Sett location information is a valuable asset as it helps Group members to protect them. Ecological consultants, commissioned by developers and public utilities, also ask for help when they are preparing surveys, and the data is also important when liaising with planning authorities about proposed new developments.
Persecution: Sadly, for centuries badgers have suffered from persecution, chiefly from badger baiters, but also from developers and landowners. Baiters put dogs into setts to corner badgers underground. They then dig down into the setts, either to kill the badgers there and then or, as so often happens, to take them away to face fighting dogs in specially prepared pits.
Badger Baiting: Once regarded as the working man’s “field sport” badger baiting - and its more common modern equivalent of “lamping” - is now illegal. But sadly it continues. In some northern counties, notably Yorkshire, it remains a constant problem. Instances in Warwickshire are, thankfully, relatively rare, but Group members continue to work with the police, the RSPCA and other conservation bodies to reduce this illegal and abhorrent activity to an absolute minimum.
The Government’s so called “pilot culls” haven’t helped. The slaughter of badgers under licence in two pilot areas (which were intended to test the humaneness and effectiveness of night shooting, but which undoubtedly failed - as was reported by the independent monitoring teams) has led some people to suppose that badgers generally are no longer protected. But they are! It remains an offence to deliberately kill or injure badgers or to damage or deliberately interfere with their setts. That will continue to be the case everywhere with the exception of the pilot cull areas. So Warwickshire’s badgers remain protected! That’s important.
Sett protection remains vitally important and members of the public can help by reporting to the police any suspicious activity on or close to active setts, especially when it involves men with dogs, digging equipment and the use of nets. But the advice is: if you see setts being dug don’t put yourself at risk. Dial 999. Sett destruction and badger baiting are both criminal offences.
Giving advice: Inevitably from time to time badgers enter gardens where they are unwelcome. Occasionally they create setts, but most often they venture in simply to feed on worms, grubs, insects, fallen fruit - and some seasonal vegetables. Often we are asked to give advice to stop them damaging gardens, lawns and fences. We do our best. But most often there is no simple answer.
The most obvious remedy is secure, well maintained fencing, ideally with strong wire mesh attached and trenched in to prevent the badgers burrowing underneath. But often that is too expensive or impractical. One temporary remedy is an electric fence, but again that’s not always feasible. The Group has one electric fence it is prepared to loan out for short periods in return for a small donation.
Some badger groups report success with ultrasonic devices designed to deter cats and wildlife in general. One worth trying is Animal Away Plus which is sold by a number of retailers, among them Maplins.
One other remedy that has worked successfully is to position in the garden a mains-operated radio and leave it playing quietly throughout the night. The sound deters the badgers.
Badgers sometimes make a temporary home under patios, garages and garden sheds and when that happens it’s probably best to seek advice over the phone. For names of experienced Group members who can provide guidance over the telephone, or who may even be able to visit you, see Contact us, but please remember Group members are all volunteers. Their time is limited and many work full-time. For especially difficult problems the advice of an experienced professional badger consultant may be needed. But please try us first.
Vaccinating badgers: The Badger Trust, along with other major conservation organisations, strongly opposes the Coalition’s laughter of badgers as a way of controlling the spread of bovine TB. As a Group that’s a view we share. We believe strongly the long-term solution lies first in much more rigorous and frequent testing of cattle plus much tougher controls over the movement of cattle, especially those reared in bovine TB hotspots. Long-term, however, the only real solution, in our view, and that of the country’s top scientists, is vaccination, both of badgers and cattle. As a start the Badger Trust has paid for the training of a small number of Defra-accredited vaccinators and one of our members, Steve Hawkes, a committee member, an area co-ordinator, and Group recorder of setts and road casualties in Warwickshire, was among the first to successfully complete the accreditation course.
Since then Steve has been involved in vaccination projects on a farm on the borders of Warwickshire and Worcestershire and in addition, helped Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to survey, locate setts, and vaccinate badgers on its Brandon reserve late in 2012, and on other sites in 2013 and 2014. Also in 2013 and 2014 surveys and then vaccinations were successfully carried out at the Prison Training College at Newbold Revel. Looking ahead, Steve and other Badger Trust vaccinators plan to carry out further projects to inoculate badgers against bovine TB on an ongoing, yearly basis.
This means that, at times, there may be an opportunity for new and existing members to help in the extensive survey and cage-trap work which precedes vaccination. It’s important and satisfying work that should help badger conservation. Although vaccination is only permitted to take place between June and November, important survey work, (finding active setts in each project area), can be carried out all through the year.
Organisations we work with