The New Arrivals

As you may have seen from my latest blog last Friday night I filmed some badger cubs at a local sett for the first time this year. The Saturday before I had set my cameras up and there was no sign of any cubs so when I filmed them on the following Friday night that was obviously one of the first times they’d emerged from the sett this year.

I was very pleased with the footage as not only is it extremely cute but it shows a variety of behaviour. From the cubs playing and fighting with each other to a few clips of the adult badgers having a comical scratch. As I didn’t get back from the Badger Trust Seminar until late on Saturday I put my trail camera back up on Sunday evening then collected it before school the next morning. It was great to collect it before school as it was a fantastic start to the day due to it being a beautiful morning, there were swallows about and I was really excited to see what I got on my trail camera!

Once again it was good stuff. This time I’d put the camera lower down so the cubs were much more curious and I managed to get some great footage.

It’s also really interesting to compare my footage to that I got this time last year. A year ago, almost to the day, I filmed three cubs at the same sett so they were a bit later then this year but not much. You can see last years footage by clicking here.

Here’s some of my favourite clips from last weekend –


Twenty First Century Badgers

As I’ve been off for the last two weeks I’ve made the most of it and tried to get out as much as I can. Whether it be on my local patch, nature reserves or setting my trail camera up. Unfortunately I have some important exams approaching so I’ve had to make time to revise for them too.

However a few nights ago I returned back to a badgers sett which I hadn’t filmed at since last Autumn. This time last year I managed to film a few of the adults but it wasn’t until the end of the month when the cubs first appeared. When I collected my trail camera on Sunday morning it was pretty much the same, adults but no cubs yet. I set two cameras up, one of my normal ones that I use and a new one which my Dad has been working on recently. It works through something called a Raspberry Pi, not an actual pie but a type of computer. He then added the camera, motion detector and then printed out a case with his 3D printer. It’s very clever and it was great to try it out for the first time. Unfortunately It didn’t go completely to plan but he’s made some adjustments and we’re going to set it up again soon.

Here’s some of the footage I got. It includes badgers and a tree climbing rat. I hope to film the cubs in the upcoming weeks.

Adopt a Sett

I’m always hearing about crimes against badgers, especially at badger setts. But in the last few weeks I’ve heard about more then usual, one of which was in my local area.

A badger sett is what a badger calls home. It is usually situated in or near small clearings in woodland. A simple sett is made up of a single tunnel, with a sleeping chamber at the end. However, most setts have several entrance holes, and lots of tunnels which link up with each other. The tunnels also link up with sleeping and nursery chambers.

There are numerous horrific crimes which people commit against badgers. For centuries badgers have been victims of persecution by man, and in the old days, badger baiting was a popular spectator sport. It was made illegal in 1835, but never completely died out and has become more common in the last 20 years. Badger diggers use dogs and digging equipment to take badgers from their setts. The captured badgers are then attacked by dogs for sport, whilst the spectators gamble on the performance of the dogs. Badger baiting is extremely cruel and the badgers suffer severe injuries before they are killed. The dogs are often badly injured as well.

It is estimated that 10,000 badgers are killed in this way every year.

Along with these disgusting offences against badgers, they are also victims of crimes such as disturbance, damage and destruction of their setts. A recent example of destruction and damage at a badgers sett was at Stevenage, Hertfordshire. The sett was bricked in and scorched which prevented the badgers getting out to find food and would of caused unnecessary suffering. Another example of a horrible act of cruelty against a badger was at a sett not far from where I live. A snare was set up on a badger sett. One of the badgers got caught in the snare and slowly strangled to death as it tried to escape. These are just two examples of sick acts of cruelty against badgers.

Adopting a sett

By adopting a local sett or a sett on your local patch, where you might go and watch badgers there regularly, you can keep an eye on the sett. What I mean by this is making sure there hasn’t been any recent disturbance or there isn’t anyone about that looks suspicious. Now, this isn’t a formal thing. It’s just doing something of your own back to look out for badgers and help prevent crimes against them. I have my own example of this as last year I went to a sett that I set my camera up at regularly and I noticed that some of the wholes had been filled in, trees had been cut back by the sett and overall, the sett had been disturbed. Due to this I got in touch with my local wildlife crime officer and the Staffordshire Badger Group. Even though though this was not as serious as something as terrible as badger baiting etc, it was still important to have it dealt with in case the problem progressed. Fortunately it was dealt with.

Of course badgers aren’t the only species that suffer from such horrible acts of cruelty.

I’m also very much looking forward to a Wildlife Crime conference that I am going to on Saturday, it’s run by BAWC (Birders Against Wildlife Crime) and should be a very interesting day!