Eco

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On Saturday afternoon, SBG was alerted to the appearance of a badger, dead in suspicious circumstances, on the M54 near Tong in Shropshire.
One of our members went out to investigate, and did indeed feel that the death was suspicious. Badgers surely get killed frequently on the motorway. True; but how many are in black bin bags?
The badger was removed to a safer place and examined by two members, who found it to have not only catastrophic injuries to its rear end - which could indeed have been caused by an RTA - but also wounds to the neck and a badly broken jaw. 
Whatever happened to this badger, it died a violent death. 
The scourge of badger baiting and digging is never far away. Needless to say, the wildlife police have been informed. And the badger has now been buried in a peaceful place. 
No doubt nothing much can be done now on this particular case; but hopefully it will add to a building picture that may, in time, help to convict the people who see fit to torture wild animals in their leisure time. 

As many as 33,500 badgers could be killed in England this autumn following the government's decision to extend the culls to 11 more areas.

The 11 new areas will be added to the 10 already licensed, where about 10,000 badgers were killed in 2016.

Devon now has six badger culls under way, with Somerset and Wiltshire having three each, with others set to be added in Cheshire, Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, according to an article the the Guardian. The arrival of culling in Cheshire, of course, brings it closer than ever to Shropshire.

Professor Rosie Woodroffe, who took part in the landmark 10-year trial on badger culling, said: “It’s depressing that the government is pursuing badger culling over such huge areas when the benefits remain so uncertain. Data published today suggest that, after three years of culling, cattle TB in the first cull zones was still no lower than that in unculled areas.”

Steve Trotter, at the Wildlife Trusts, said: “We work closely with many farmers, day in, day out, and we recognise the pain and hardship of those whose cattle herds have been devastated by bTB, but killing badgers will not solve the problem. The primary route of infection is cattle-to-cattle contact. The government’s badger cull is flying in the face of science.” He said vaccination costs £82 per badger, compared to £6,800 per culled animal.

Ministers also announced the resumption of a badger vaccination scheme in “edge” areas between high and low TB regions. The scheme, suspended for the last two years due to a shortage of vaccine, will fund 50% of the costs of successful applicants. Restrictions on the movement of some high-risk cattle are also being put in place, which some scientists say is the key to ending the epidemic, according to the article by Damian Carrington.

It goes on to say that the total number of badgers to be killed across all the areas this autumn has been set at a maximum of 33,347 and a minimum of 21,797. The largest cull is one in Dorset that could see more than 7,000 badgers killed.

In a government paper titled Government Badger Control Costs 2016, the figures reveal that licensing costs had risen from £859,000 in 2013 to £1.28m in 2016, while the money spent on 'humaneness monitoring, including postmortems', had plunged from £2.6m in 2013 to £392,000 in 2016, and 'efficacy monitoring' from £2.3m in 2013 to£17,000 the following year - and zero in 2016.

You can read the full Guardian article here.

And if after all that you need cheering up, watch our lovely video here.

This year's Badger Trust conference will take place from 4th-60th November in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, courtesy of the Herts and Middlesex Badger Group.

The weekend is a great opportunity for wildlife professionals, students and interested parties to keep up to date with the latest issues surrounding ecology and conservation efforts.

What's more, this year marks the Badger Trust's 30th birthday conference! and promises to be a memorable event, with an impressive programme of speakers. 

The event takes place at Georgian Manor House, Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire, opening between 2pm and 9pm on Friday 4th for arrival and registration, with a full programme including Luke Steele, Next Generation wildlife campaigner, keynote speaker on Saturday wildlife broadcaster Mike Dilger, Hugh Warwick, Bill Oddie and many more well-known names, as well as a debate about the cull featuring Labour, SNP and Green party MPs.

And of course the conference would not be complete without a debate on the impact of Brexit on wildlife protection!

To find out more, contact the Herts and Middlesex Badger Group at  http://hmbadgergroup.org.uk/contact-us/

PLEASE NOTE THE TRAINING COURSE ON

SATURDAY 24TH JUNE HAS BEEN CHANGED

TO SUNDAY 25TH JUNE

trainingposter

Two men have been arrested as part of a police investigation into badger baiting in Whitchurch, the Shropshire Star online reported on 10th February.

Officers from Market Drayton Safer Neighbourhood Team assisted the RSPCA with two warrants under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

Items relating to badger baiting were seized.

Constable Mick Sturland, of West Mercia Police, said: “Two addresses in Whitchurch were searched and two men were arrested and articles relating to baiting offences were seized.

“These warrants were executed after intelligence received by the RSPCA, who will interview the arrested men.”

RSPCA press officer Lucy Cooper said: “The RSPCA joined police on two warrants which were executed in the Whitchurch area as part of an investigation into wildlife crime.

“Police have arrested two men. The investigation is currently ongoing.”

Undercover RSPCA inspectors have helped to bring a number of successful badger digging cases before the courts. Some of these have involved the use of advanced forensic techniques including DNA evidence.

You can read the Star's full report here.

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