Don’t badger this traveller

An elusive badger, caught on camera on Christmas day.
An elusive badger, caught on camera on Christmas day.

You cannot have failed to notice the common sight of dead badgers by the roadside these days.

Sad though such sights are, they are, in fact, an indication of a thriving badger population.

In my early days as a naturalist in the 1960s and 70s, badgers were mostly confined to marginal, hillfoot areas.

1973 saw the Badgers Act come into force, giving badgers legal protection.

This had the immediate effect of kick starting their population growth and distribution spread.

Nowadays badger tracks can be found on almost every muddy path or gateway in the country.

Seeing the actual animals is a different matter, of course, as they are strictly nocturnal.

Most folk who have seen a live one, have spotted it in the headlights of their car.

Sadly, that is often too late.

Camera traps are ideal tools to monitor such elusive creatures.

This particular one took its own photograph at 3am on Christmas Day.

Where his home sett is I have no idea, certainly it is nowhere nearby, or badgers would trigger the camera much more frquently.

However, as tracking has taught me, badgers can travel many miles in a night.

This brings us back to the problem that it is impossible to travel very far in today’s countryside without crossing roads.

Not only do badgers cross roads, they will happily travel along them and have even learned that roads can provide food in the form of roadkill rabbits and such like.

Yet another reason for watching your speed when driving at night.

By George Hogg

Hogg Estate Services, Wildlife Management