Badger Persecution in Norfolk
A Sad History
Sadly, Norfolk’s badger population has undeniably faced decades if not centuries of mindless persecution to the point of near localised extinction by the mid-20 th century. The renowned Norfolk and Norwich Naturalist Society with its many members could only list 10 known setts in its Mammal Report for 1960. Although this does not reflect an in-depth county survey within likely badger habitat, it does reflect the recordings of several hundred naturalists dispersed around Norfolk. It is simply because the badgers were not there. This seems remarkable in a county that has enough habitat and food availability to support well over 1500 badger setts when compared to other county’s statistics. The various, updated Badger Acts, the most recent being 1992 that protects both the badgers and their setts has led to the slow and gradual increase of Norfolk’s badger population, a population that still struggles for survival in many quiet corners of Norfolk.
In the past couple of years, the Norfolk Badger Trust has investigated shot, snared poisoned and gassed badgers. We have also been called out to several badger setts crushed and destroyed by tree felling operations. There is no doubt that a large amount of badger persecution is deliberate and calculated. Surely, no one could mistake a badger for a fox when aiming a high powered rifle? The photo below shows the Norfolk Badger Trust at the 2017 London March campaigning for badger protection.
Working With People and Badgers
Although ignorance is no excuse with any law, there are of course cases of accidental damage when people have been unaware of the presence of badgers, or what a badger sett is in comparison to fox earths or rabbit warrens. Thankfully, some in doubt have telephoned and asked for advice or assistance. Others have a swift scratch of the head, a peep over the shoulder and carry on anyway. The Badger Act legislation is not a strict “you must not do this” list but allows for relevant mitigation and disturbances, mostly under a licence granted from Natural England after a survey and recommendation from an ecologist / badger group. The Norfolk Badger Trust is here to help and work with people whilst ensuring the right steps are followed to safeguard the badgers.
See Contacts page to contact us.
The Badgers Place Within The UK
A badger is a native mammal to the UK once being common and widespread throughout much of Norfolk. Human population growth, urbanisation and development sees more and more pressure put on badgers as their habitats shrink and become fragmented. Nearly every example of a badger “being a nuisance” is usually because humans have encroached on the badger’s territory. But yes, badgers can undertake a bit of landscape gardening in your back yard, rooting up a bit of lawn in search of grubs and yes, badgers can undermine paths and roads and even increase the risk of localised floods as they dig into river banks. Of course, as stated above, these issues can all be resolved lawfully without harming the badgers. For advice on deterring badgers from your garden, please go to the Links page for more information.
The Myths Busted
Many old wives tales of badgers wiping out hedgehogs and bees or eating pheasants linger on, being brought back to the public’s attention via the media, often to gain support from people as justification for a cull. Science is readily available to disprove such myths and education is key to getting these messages across.