The Neath Port Talbot Badger Group

Protecting Our Local Badgers

THREATS TO BADGERS

 
 
Badgers in the UK are experiencing many pressures that impact both on their numbers and welfare, resulting in the badger become rare and even extinct in certain regions. Apart from natural pressures, such as bad weather that affects feeding resources etc, their population also has to endure the following:
 
 
Baiting
Thousands of badgers each year are mercilessly killed by the extremely cruel and inhumane activity of badger baiting. This involves digging into a sett to locate the badgers and then pitting them against dogs, usually several dogs to one badger. If caught, the baiters can receive a prison sentence. Nets, such as self-closing purse nets,are another way that baiters can acquire badgers for fighting. When caught they can be put to fight with dogs in a prepared dug out baiting pit, or transported to another location for the baiting.
 
Roads
It is estimated that around 45,000 badgers are killed on the road in the UK each year. The Neath Port Talbot badger group regularly have to collect road fatalities from all over the borough. In one year alone we collected 26, which is a very heavy toll as the area is not that heavily populated by badgers.
 
Also, we do not get to know about all badger fatalities, so the figure could be well over double to that reported to us. Badgers are not 'prolific' breeders, compared say to rabbits and foxes, which compounds the problem. For instance, only one badger cub litter per year is produced by a female badger, and only 50% of females each year will produce a litter. Average litter size is only two cubs, with many dying prematurely through road deaths and starvation due to loss of feeding habitat.
 
Development
The main threat of development to badgers, and many other wildlife species, is loss of habitat. Development decreases feeding grounds which are vital to sustain present and future badger populations. It is estimated that 50% of new born cubs die of starvation due to loss of feeding grounds. Another hazard that comes with development is new roads that cross badger paths, which often results in an increase in road fatalities. Unfortunately, little, if anything,is done by the local authority to helpredress the situation. In fact, the situation is worsening.

 
Other Threats
Other threats to badgers are numerous and include illegal poisoning, snaring and shooting. Also hazards are accidental/deliberate damage or destruction of setts (even by the local authority - Neath Port Talbot Council), railway fatalities and legal (albeit misguided) culling by successive government bodies, eg. Department of Environment (DEFRA) and the Welsh Assembly Government. Such activities as these cause the death of many thousands of badgers every year (and in the case of culling - mostly healthy badgers).