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Nov
02

Spotlight on the European Badger

The badger is a popular creature in the UK. It can often pop up in urban and suburban areas providing a great deal of enjoyment for some people (not just Mole and Ratty!). Your garden can be an inviting place for a family of badgers with its well clipped fruit trees, lawns and dustbins offering rich and tasty pickings.   Not every badger is a welcome visitor though.   They can cause a great deal of damage, eating bulbs, knocking over bins and can tear up grass while foraging for insects.   Whether you enjoy their visits and encourage them is up to you.  You can get advice on what to do if you have badgers in the garden by following link 1 below.

The European badger (meles meles) is common throughout most of Europe.   Badgers are nocturnal and largely go unseen.   They are adaptable, omnivorous beasts enjoying a varied diet made up of small mammals, insects and earthworms, fruits, nuts, acorns and vegetables. The European badger benefits from having few natural predators.   They are communal burrow (or set) dwellers with setts commonly remaining in a family for generations. They have even been known to share their setts with rabbits and red foxes.   Their setts consist of several separate chambers joined by tunnels, they are clean animals and even have designated toilet areas!

The threat of bovine TB to UK farmers, particularly in the South West is well documented.   Bovine TB accounted for the slaughter of 25,000 cattle costing the tax payer £90m in 2010 (www.defra.gov.uk).  The spread of bovine TB has been linked to the prevalent badger population. Defra has conducted a public consultation on the Government’s approach to tackling bovine TB and badger control. No decision has yet been made on whether to grant licences for the controlled cull of badgers.   An injectable badger vaccine has been developed and an oral vaccine is in development along with a vaccine suitable for cattle.

What ever your interest in badgers, being able to see them without them seeing you is crucial.   You will never see an animal behaving entirely naturally by shining a spotlight on them.   Opticalia has a wide range of the award winning Luna Optics Night Vision products suitable for the casual observer through to professional contractors and landowners (see link 4 for an impartial review).

Useful Links:
1. http://www.badger.org.uk/_Attachments/Resources/55_S4.pdf

2. http://www.iucn.org/

3. http://www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/a-z/bovine-tb/#biosecurity-video

4. http://www.bestbinocularsreviews.com/Luna%20Optics3x50LN-PB3-74.htm

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