Badger Vaccination in Photos and Video

Dorset Wildlife Trust are firmly opposed to a badger cull in Dorset. We believe there are alternative methods which should be used to tackle Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB), vaccination is one of these methods. In autumn 2013 we started vaccinating badgers on our nature reserves.

1: SURVEYING FOR BADGERS ON A DORSET NATURE RESERVE

We started by undertaking a comprehensive survey for badger setts and other signs of badgers on one of our reserves in Dorset.

Surveying for badger signs S0206988

2: ENCOURAGING THE BADGERS TO EAT PEANUTS

Once we had decided where we were going to place the badger traps we needed to get the local badgers used to feeding on peanuts along their regular feeding routes, and near to their setts. For a couple of nights we placed handfuls of peanuts under large stones (to stop other animals from eating them) and the badgers soon twigged that "stones" meant "free peanuts". As you can see from this video, they came to check the stones every night.

Night footage by Jane Adams

3: INTRODUCING THE BADGERS TO OUR CAGES

After a few nights we introduced the traps into the badger's habitat - near to where we had been placing the peanuts. This photo shows the trap full of earth, with the stone/peanuts just outside the door. The traps are tied open, so the badgers can safely trundle in and out.

Dig in the cage

4. MOVING THE STONE & PEANUTS TO THE BACK OF THE TRAP

Over the next few days we slowly moved the stone and peanuts to the back of the cage. So the badgers could get used to going in and out to eat the peanuts. The traps were always tied open.

Putting stone at back of cage S0137039

5. WILL THE BADGERS FEED IN THE TRAP?

The badgers were more than happy to pull off the stone and feed on the peanuts at the end of the trap. Again, the trap was wired open at this stage, so that they could wander in and out all night.

Night camera footage by Jane Adams

6. VACCINATION DAY ARRIVES

After approximately 7-10 days the traps were set by attaching a piece of string to the stone and to the door of the trap. Any badger pulling away the stone to reach the peanuts would activate the trap, and the door would close. Once our registered Lay Vaccinator had observed the trapped badger, and made sure it was fit to vaccinate, the vaccination took place. Quick and calm.

Footage by Graham Hatherley

7. MARKING THE BADGER

We vaccinate for two consecutive nights (if the weather allows), and in order to know if a badger has been vaccinated we trim off some of its outer guard hairs, and spray it with some harmless stock marker. If we catch this badger the next night, we don't need to vaccinate it and can set it free. You can see the orange marker on this badger that was caught on our next vaccination night (when we arrived at the cage he was asleep!). We were able to release him straight away.

trim and mark sam stewart-051

8. LETTING THE BADGER GO

Once the registered Lay Vaccinator was happy the badger had not had an adverse reaction to the vaccine (very rare), it was released.

Footage by Graham Hatherley

9. THE PAPERWORK and BIOSECURITY

There are strict guidelines that we have to follow while we are vaccinating badgers; paperwork needs to be completed...

Paperwork GH

A film screengrab by Graham Hatherley

... and our boots and vechicles need to be disinfected before we move to another site. Good biosecurity can stop the transmission of disease, including bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

disinfect GH

A film screengrab by Graham Hatherley

Please donate HERE to our Badger Vaccination Appeal

THANK YOU!

 

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