This morning my excuse for being late to school was much different to most. This was because I had a grey squirrel visiting my garden for the very first time! Grey squirrels aren’t a rare species but I was very excited when I saw that I had attracted a new mammal species into my garden. I managed to get a few photos in between getting ready but I hope to get lots more in the future. Here’s one of the photos that I took of the acrobatic squirrel.
On Friday night I decided to set my trail camera up in my Nan’s garden. A few weeks back she noticed a hole had been dug underneath her fence and we weren’t that sure what had done it so I decided to set my trail camera up in her garden to find out. When I collected my camera yesterday morning and looked at my footage I was surprised to see that I had recorded a rat! This was the first time that I had properly recorded rats on my trail camera. We think I may have recorded more then one but we’re not sure. Unfortunately I hadn’t set the settings on my trail camera right so I only have some screen shots. Here they are.
Last Saturday night I returned to the badgers sett where I have recorded badgers in the past. The badgers which I recorded were the same ones I recorded many times last year and which featured on BBC Autumnwatch. At this time of the year the badgers are becoming more active and the young cubs are starting to emerge from the sett in the next few weeks. In the near future I hope to record the badger cubs around at this sett when they come out around late April and early May which I’m really looking forward too! At the most I recorded two different badgers however they weren’t as active as the ones I recorded last Autumn. Here is the footage that I got and there will be lots more to come over the next few weeks!
You can see some of the footage that I recorded last year here – https://georgiaswildlifewatch.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/best-badger-footage-yet/
There are many different reasons why culling the badgers by shooting them or gassing them won’t control or stop the spread of bTB (Bovine Tuberculosis) in cattle. As a young wildlife enthusiast I thought I’d do a blog post explaining three different reasons why, in my opninion, culling badgers won’t work. I want the cull to be taken no further and badgers to stop being killed for no reason. I know there is a problem with bTB in cattle but killing badgers is far from stopping this. In my opinion, shared by many others and supported by scientific evidence, vaccinating badgers will work much better and be much better for badgers as a species. Very often I hear people saying that we are against the cull because it’s killing animals; the culls the only answer; it will help other species and many other reasons which are not correct. The people making these points obviously have no knowledge of the cull, badgers or the natural world whatsoever. Here is a list of some of the main reasons into why the cull won’t work
- The first and main reason why the cull will not work is because of something called the ‘perturbation effect’. Badgers live in social groups of around four to seven animals and have defined territorial boundaries. Culling the badgers will interrupt these social groups which increases the risk of disease.
“Culling disrupts the organisation of these social groups, increasing the risks of disease transmission”
Here is a diagram illustration how the perturbation effect doesn’t work and only makes the spread of bTB worse.
2. The contact between cattle and badgers is actually very rare and the problem of bTB spreading isn’t just from badger to cattle but an infected cow passing it on to another. Cattle are more likely to get the disease then pass it onto other cattle. According to computer modeling studies, herd-to-herd transmission of bovine TB in cattle accounts for 94% of cases. Also scientific evidence from the randomized badger culling trials found around 6% of infected cattle catch TB directly from badgers.
3. Badgers aren’t the only species that carry the disease, here is a list of others:
Deer = 36% positive (including farmed, wild and park deer)
Cat = 25% positive
Dog = 27% positive
Pig = 19% positive
Alpaca = 56% positive
Sheep = 44% positive
Therefore to control it by culling animals we wouldn’t just have to kill badgers, but other UK species. However, we don’t know what individuals within a species carry the disease and we could be culling any animal which doesn’t carry bovine TB.
To help our badgers in the UK there are many different ways, for example you can donate money into the vaccination programs, support the different charities opposing the cull, sign petitions against it and much more!