My friend Paul and I were privileged to be invited to help vaccinate badgers on the first two sites vaccinated by the badger group in 2014. Thank you !
Our role was to head out before sunrise and check each trap to see whether we had caught any badgers, then radio in to the vaccinators so they knew how many badgers we had captured and where. We then got to watch as the licensed vaccinators did the deed and released the badgers.
We set off at 4am to reach the vaccination site and once again I was grateful to whoever invented coffee.
It probably would’ve helped if I had actually been to the site in daylight first, but after a couple of mini adventures we located all the traps and found to our delight that we had caught 3 badgers on the first night. Not a bad catch rate for the 9 traps we checked. Here’s one making its bid for freedom after being vaccinated:
The next night we caught 6 from the same traps, including several individuals from the night before who obviously couldn’t resist peanuts despite the indignity of being stuck in a cage waiting for humans to let them out. We already had a good idea of how many badgers were in the area from camera trap footage, and we think we have vaccinated 90% of the badgers in one trapping area and over 70% in the other. So happy to have met the target. We were so nervous the night before it was untrue.
Here’s a series of pictures of one badger being vaccinated and released:
Youtube video of the release here.
We fur clip each badger vaccinated and spray it with brightly coloured stock spray so we know we have already done that one and can just let it go. So if you happen to be out in east Cheshire and see a badger crossing the road with a blue patch on its bum, it has been vaccinated against TB so look after it 🙂