The Edinburgh and Lothians Badger Group was formed in 1994 and aims to protect the Badger and its environment throughout the Lothians. In 2010 it became the Lothian & Borders Badger Group, extending its reach into the Borders.
Members of the Group actively participate in a variety of conservation projects aimed at protecting Badger setts and habitat and give advice on Badgers and their conservation.
A vital part of the Group's activities involves the surveying, checking and recording of existing and new setts. This information is then made available for use, when necessary, as evidence in prosecutions and for ensuring the future protection of the Badger's habitat.
All members are invited to attend regular meetings and receive a regular newsletter to keep them in touch with what is happening locally, regionally and nationally. They also have the opportunity to actively contribute to our work by assisting with fieldwork and/or administration for which training is available. The Group also offers organised Badger watches, illustrated talks and film shows.
The European Badger is one of Britain's largest and possibly best loved wild mammals. With their distinctive black and white striped faces and shy, gentle nature, they certainly hold appeal for most people, yet few will have been lucky enough to have actually seen a Badger in natural surroundings. This is because the Badger is a nocturnal animal which is normally secretive and tries to avoid man.
By nature they are extremely clean and intelligent animals which live together in well ordered social groups, each with its own distinct territory. Their underground homes, or setts as they are correctly termed, can be an amazing labyrinth of tunnels and chambers, often covering a large area. Badgers are omnivorous and eat a wide variety of foods such as earth-worms, beetles and fruit. They do no real ham to anyone and farmers generally welcome them.
Badgers have been present in Britain for thousands of years - their bones have been found alongside those of cave bear and elk. They have managed to survive while other animals such as wild boar, wolves and bears have become extinct. However, nowadays the species faces many pressures such as habitat destruction and illegal persecution. In Lothian the main threats are from extensions to the road network and building developments.
Badger-digging has been practised in this country since the Middle Ages and sadly, today there are still people who indulge in this cruel 'sport'. It involves men who send dogs into a sett to locate and corner the Badger. Using radio equipment to locate their dogs, the men dig down into the sett and drag the terrified animal out, normally to a cruel death.
Today there is another human threat to the Badger population, from road traffic. There are increasing numbers of badgers being killed on our roads as the number of cars increases. It is estimated that in Britain, over 40,000 are killed on the roads annually; 9,000 killed by digging and baiting and 30,000 have been killed by shooting and gassing in the last 17 years.
The Badgers Act (1973) which was amended by the Wildlife and Countryside Acts (1 981 & 1985) makes it illegal for any person to kill, injure or take a Badger. It is an offence to cruelly ill treat a Badger. to dig for and to snare a Badger. Under the 1992 Act it is now illegal to damage a Badger sett or cause a dog to enter a sett. It is also an offence to attempt any of these actions.
It is also an offence to possess a dead Badger which has been acquired illegally and to sell, or try to sell, or keep a live Badger. A fine of up to £5,000 can be imposed for each separate offence committed against each animal. The courts can also confiscate any dogs used in offences against Badgers and disqualify the offender from owning a dog.
If you see suspicious activity at a badger sett,
- Do not confront anyone
- Remain unseen
- Note the description of the people involved
- Note whether they have dogs or equipment
- Look for any vehicles involved and note make, colour and registration numbers
Then call any of the numbers above. If no one is available, dial 999
You can also help us by informing us about badger casualties or sett locations.
|Edinburgh Area Coordinator||edinburgh||@||lbbg.org.uk|
|Midlothian Area Coordinator||midlothian||@||lbbg.org.uk|
|East Lothian Area||eastlothian||@||lbbg.org.uk|
|West Lothian Area||westlothian||@||lbbg.org.uk|
|SSPCA||03000 999 999|
|Police||999 or 112 or local no|
All illustrations by Karen Gray
Last Updated 23-October-2012