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.
Some of the main things that we 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
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.
And 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
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 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
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