<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

How the Lancashire Wildlife Trust is working to avoid a badger cull in the north of England

PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 April 2017

4 Badger cubs will be around in early spring in your local woods and forests Photo: Darin Smith

4 Badger cubs will be around in early spring in your local woods and forests Photo: Darin Smith

Darin Smith info@wildstock.co.uk

Badgers are an iconic, native species in Lancashire and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust is doing all it can to protect them. Campaigns Officer Alan Wright gets a perspective from inside the sett.

Badgers are shy and secretive animals Badgers are shy and secretive animals

THE badger cull and bovine TB continue to be big news in the South West, but here in Lancashire we are hoping for a consensus to ensure there is a fairer way to solve this problem, one which doesn’t involve blaming badgers.

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust, along with other Wildlife Trusts across the country, is trying to encourage the farming community to carry out all of the necessary testing procedures on their cattle in order to try to prevent the disease becoming established in cattle in our area.

The worry is that if this should happen, then not only will it have a dramatic effect on the livelihood of our rural community, but there is also the possibility that the disease will spread into our wildlife. If this should happen then vaccination of badgers is one possible way of reducing the threat. This is being promoted by the Wildlife Trusts nationally.

Our chief executive, Anne Selby, is a farmer’s daughter and we have our own herds of conservation cattle, so we are not biased against farmers or towards the badgers. We believe the cull does not stack up enough scientific evidence to continue when there are better alternatives to try to solve this problem.

Our badgers have had a hard enough time as the region’s historical reputation for cruelty in the form of badger baiting still hangs over us today. This month we are celebrating the work of our friends from The Lancashire Badger Group, which has been protecting badgers in our region for 50 years.

Both the Wildlife Trust and the Badger Group have helped to create perfect habitats for these magnificent mammals. We have kept a close eye on numbers, protected setts and attempted to ensure developments do not encroach on badger territory.

Don't be surprised to see young badgers playfully romping through a wood by Darin Smith Don't be surprised to see young badgers playfully romping through a wood by Darin Smith

We need to celebrate the badger – our largest land predator. It is amazing that a creature which can grow to the size of a German shepherd dog lives unnoticed in our woodlands. In fact, the majority of people will only have seen dead badgers by the roadside.

The badger is as common as the red fox but it is nocturnal and spends most of its time in and around a burrow system known as a sett. Badgers are tidy creatures leaving used bedding, normally leaves and hay, outside the hole and creating toilets in nearby pits. They feed on small mammals, eggs, worms, fruit and bulbs.

Cubs are born in January and February but are unlikely to leave the sett for a few months, emerging in late spring. While the average lifespan is just three years, badgers have been known to reach 13 or 14 in the wild.

For anyone who doesn’t know, badgers are large and grey, with short tails, a black belly and paws. They have striking black and white striped faces. They can grow up to 1.2 metres in length and attain weights of 17kg or two and a half stone.

I have been lucky enough to visit a Lancashire Badger Group hide to watch badgers in the wild. As night crept in the badgers crept out, first a formidable older male and then a younger male and female. They brought that woodland to life and gave their audience immense please for many minutes.

While we still believe it is better to keep wraps on most of the badger woodlands in the region, people tend to know where their local badgers live. Woods with slopes offer good areas for badgers to make a home. Coppicing and clearing of this woodland by Wildlife Trust volunteers has created better habitats.

David Beattie Photo: Alan Wright David Beattie Photo: Alan Wright

The Lancashire Badger Group and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust need the support of our members and countryside lovers to ensure that we do the right thing for our badgers.

We need to support the farming industry in their efforts to keep bovine TB out of Lancashire and the North West. We need them to continue to focus on the testing and correct care of their stock. This is a campaign against bovine TB not badgers or farmers.

We all want to keep our cattle and wildlife healthy and know that if the disease does get into our badgers then culling is definitely not the answer.

The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside manages around 40 nature reserves and 20 local nature reserves covering acres of woodland, wetland, upland and meadow. The Trust has 28,000 members, and over 1,200 volunteers.

To become a member go to www.lancswt.org.uk or call 01772 324129.

NATURE MOMENT

In the first of our monthly features, David Beattie tells Alan Wright of his encounter with a badger

‘A number of years ago I was involved in surveying for woodcock. We had gone just before dusk to both listen and look for this bird. Sitting at the edge of a wooded valley we waited patiently for them to make an appearance. As darkness descended, we heard the unmistakable call of this secretive bird and then another sound.

‘We held our breath hardly daring to make a sound. In the undergrowth the noise of crashing and occasional snuffling was intriguing. What could it be?

‘Then we saw something we had not expected - two badgers trotting through the clearing, then pausing to sniff the ground and the air.

‘I almost had to bite my lip to stop myself shouting with delight. My first sighting of a creature that had proved so elusive up to that point. It also gave me a passion to be involved in protecting badgers.’

Great grandfather David has been involved with Lancashire Wildlife Trust for nearly 30 years. Ten years after retirement, he is the Wildlife Watch (children’s club) co-ordinator for Lancashire, a Watch leader and a guided walk leader at Brockholes. He also leads the pram walk once a month.

David is chair of Lancashire Badger Group, chairman of the Friends of Cuerden Valley Park and the North West regional co-ordinator for A Rocha UK.

Celebrating 25 years this year, the Lancashire Badger Group is a registered charity which is dedicated to the conservation and protection of the eurasian/european badger (Meles meles), working in Lancashire to raise awareness and provide information and education.

More from Out & About

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Usually when we are talking about new sightings of birds in Lancashire, we are referring to the ‘little brown jobs’, which are difficult to recognise.

Read more
Brockholes
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

John Lenehan crosses the paths of witches and Romans in a spectaular walk that’s perfect for a dry winter’s day

Read more
Ribble Valley Walks
Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas seems even more appealing in a beautiful rural location, as Mike Glover and photographer Sandy Kitchin discovered

Read more
Grasmere Christmas
Thursday, November 30, 2017

How many of these local landmarks can you recognise?

Read more
Christmas Quiz
Thursday, November 30, 2017

The town comes into its own in the festive period, as Mairead Mahon discovers.

Read more
Whalley Christmas
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Lucy Cavendish remembers a childhood Christmas at one of our most beautiful historic homes - and the good news is that it’s open for festive fun

Read more
Holker Hall Christmas
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

This Christmas and beyond, keep things local with independent businesses in Crosby. Rebekka O’Grady chats to those making things happen.

Read more
Friday, November 24, 2017

Sue Riley discovered a city full of Christmas spirit

Read more
Christmas
Thursday, November 23, 2017

Lancashire’s Walney Island looks like becoming an established breeding ground for grey seals.

Read more
Friday, November 17, 2017

This remarkable garden can whisk you on a horticulture tour of the world. Linda Viney took a trip

Read more
Monday, November 13, 2017

John Lenehan heads for Gisburn to walk by the Ribble and sample the delights of the Auction Mart Cafe.

Read more
Monday, November 13, 2017

This busy community might sometimes feel like the village that time forgot, but it’s full of people who help themselves. Martin Pilkington reports

Read more
Silverdale
Monday, November 6, 2017

Follow our short guide to a festive trip to Lytham this Christmas.

Read more
Christmas
Monday, November 6, 2017

Windermere is dependent on tourism, but when the holidaymakers have left there remains a thriving village community

Read more
Windermere
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Lancashire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search