Posts Tagged ‘badger survey’

Badger rescue

Friday, July 17th, 2015

As well working as an Ecologist for UES I am vice-chair of the Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group. As a volunteer for the group I am on call to respond to incidents which may include badger injuries, reports or badger persecutions, police incidents and issues with badgers on residential, commercial and industrial properties.

On a sunny morning in summer 2015 a resident of mid-Cheshire had been out at a local woodland walking his dogs when he came across a badger caught in a fence. He quickly returned home and contacted the Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group, and we immediately set out to attend to the badger.

The local man, Harry, came out with us to show us the location of the badger. On arrival we quickly realised that the badger was not caught in a fence but was in fact caught in a snare. At this point it was obvious that the badger had been snared for some time, as the surrounding ground showed signs of disturbance where the young badger had been rolling and digging to try to free himself. He was clearly exhausted and on my approach rather than try to defend himself he attempted to dig his head into the ground. This enabled me to grab the badger by the back of his neck and move him to obtain a better view of the snare. The snare was not of the illegal ‘locking’ type, and I was able to loosen the clasp enough to cut the wire with pliers. I then checked the wire had not cut into the badger before removing the snare. The badger as this point was very submissive, exhausted after his struggle and petrified by being out in the daylight and close to people. I quickly checked the badger for signs of injury – there were no external injuries and the badger had full movement in all limbs. I put the badger on the nearby well-used badger path and he quickly darted down a sett entrance around 10 metres away.

The badger sett was clearly visible from the footpath, and the snare was set on a clear badger track, leading me to suspect that badgers were intentionally targeted. We checked the rest of the area for further snares and thankfully found no more to be present. We informed Cheshire Police and the RSPCA of the incident, and also informed the Snarewatch organisation. The snare was removed and will be used in some of our Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group training sessions to help our members to identify signs of badger persecution.

I have since returned to the woodland to check for signs of similar illegal activity but thankfully have found none. Plenty of signs of badger activity can be found in the area, indicating that the badgers continue to use the woodland as their home. Whilst this was a very unpleasant incident to attend the badger was released shaken but unharmed. We are very grateful to Harry who reported the badger to us, and we are glad that we were able to respond so quickly to an act of badger persecution in our region.

Paul, UES Ecologist

Badgering badgers

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Leicester Magistrates’ Court found a landowner guilty of interfering with a badger sett by damaging and obstructing it.

The landowner had contractors dump soil and rubble on an area around the badger sett, which blocked and damaged it.

The landowner had previously contacted Natural England asking for permission to remove the sett, however Natural England had refused the license as it was unclear who would be undertaking the works.

The landowner was fined £6,215 in total and no badgers were harmed by the landowner’s actions.

Penalties for offences relating to badgers include fines of up to £5,000 plus up to six months imprisonment for each illegal sett interference, badger injury or death.

An extended phase one habitat survey will assess the likely presence of badgers and other protected species and prevent such problems arising. A targeted badger scoping survey will identify any evidence of badger presence on site allowing the landowner to avoid penalties.

UESis an ecological consultancy based in Cheshire who are experts in protected species issues relating to planning and development.

Badgers inherit their setts, some setts can be centuries old

Badger monitoring surveys

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

UES are currently completing badger monitoring surveys of a site in Barnton, Northwich using remote wildlife cameras. Remote cameras are ideal for badger monitoring surveys allowing you to set it up onsite and return later to collect your images. Remote cameras can be set to take pictures or videos regularly with the time lapse facility, or when it is triggered by an animal moving into the field of view. Either way, it gives a remarkable insight into the wildlife in the vicinity.

Now is a great time to undertake a badger monitoring survey as cubs start emerging from their sett in April or early May, which gives them all of spring, summer and autumn to feed, grow, and put on sufficient fat reserves to see them through their first winter.

Find out more information here.

Bovine TB and badger control

Friday, December 16th, 2011

The Government’s policy on Bovine TB and badger control in England has been announced by Secretary of State Caroline Spelman MP. To help control the disease, the Government has decided to proceed with a policy of enabling farmers and landowners to cull and/or vaccinate badgers, under licence, in areas of high incidence of TB in cattle.

David Williams, Chairman of the Badger Trust said: “We are clearly very disappointed by this decision but now that it has been made, we will be studying it with our legal advisors to determine what action we shall take.”

Bats and badgers in Buckinghamshire

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

UES conducted a full bat survey of a barn in Marlow, Buckinghamshire in September 2011. Our client plans to change the use of the barn from agricultural to a dwelling.

Low numbers of common species of bats were observed using the area to forage and commute. The species recorded were Common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus and Soprano pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus.

During the course of the survey some evidence of badgers was found including feeding remains and a latrine. A single badger was also observed in a hole on the northwest corner of the barn.

UES are currently completing badger monitoring surveys of the site in Buckinghamshire using remote wildlife cameras. Remote cameras are ideal for badger monitoring surveys allowing you to set it up onsite and return later to collect your images. Remote cameras can be set to take pictures or videos regularly with the time lapse facility, or when it is triggered by an animal moving into the field of view. Either way, it gives a remarkable insight into the wildlife in the vicinity.

Extended phase 1 survey in Connahs Quay, Deeside

Monday, August 15th, 2011

UES have completed an extended phase 1 habitat survey of a site in Deeside, North Wales in order to inform the client of any potential impacts their development would have on habitats and species.

Semi-improved neutral grassland

The site was defined as semi-improved neutral grassland. The species composition and pattern of growth reflect an unmanaged and ungrazed grassland dominated by course-leaved tussock grasses notably False oat-grass, Cocks foot and Yorkshire fog.

As part of the extended phase 1 habitat survey, specific observations of wildlife were also recorded. Wildlife observations focus on protected species, invasive species or species of conservation interest. Numerous species of birds were recorded during the survey which could have been breeding on or local to site.

In terms of the surrounding area the development of the site in Connahs Quay presents only a minor loss of habitat quality. UES suggested that landscaping should aim to promote species diversity by the appropriate design of habitats and habitats mosaics which promotes natural linkages and hence dispersal of target species. Suggested ideas that may be beneficial to wildlife include, planting of berry and nut bearing shrub species when landscaping, use of nectar bearing flowers, creating a wildflower garden, creating bird feeding stations and the hanging bat and bird boxes on site.

Extended phase 1 habitat survey for Seddon Homes in Lancashire

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

UES have completed an extended phase 1 habitat survey of a site in Lancashire in order to inform the client of any potential impacts their development would have on habitats and species.

A phase 1 habitat survey is a standard method of environmental audit. It involves categorising different habitat types and habitat features within a survey area. The information gained from the survey can be used to determine the ecological value of the site, and to direct any more specific survey work which may need to be carried out prior to the start of work, such as badger surveys, barn owl surveys, bat surveys, great crested newt surveys, dormouse surveys, water vole surveys, breeding bird surveys, hedgerow surveys and tree surveys.

Male Palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus)

Seddon Homes applied for planning permission for a new build housing scheme which was subject to a ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ (CSH) assessment. The aim of the Code for Sustainable Homes is to encourage development on land that has a limited value to wildlife, and discourage the use of previously undeveloped land.

The site was surveyed and all species on site recorded. The development site was deemed to be of moderate ecological value due to the neutral grassland with associated mature trees and species-rich countryside hedgerows. Numerous species of birds were also recorded during the survey which could have been breeding on or local to site. Further surveys for great crested newts (GCN) were conducted due to a pond on site being identified as suitable for amphibians. Palmate newts were found on site.

It was decided that enhancement measures were required in order to secure an ecological benefit at site level and achieve the maximum number of CSH ecological credits. The client welcomed the suggestion of incorporating bat and bird boxes into the design of the new buildings, which could provide a real benefit to local bat and bird populations.

On the hunt for orchids

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

There are 56 species of wild orchid in Britain and Ireland (out of around 25,000 known species worldwide). In the UK wild orchids can be found in a variety of natural habitats including woodland, grassland, marshes, heaths and sand dunes, as well as in managed sites such as abandoned pits and roadside verges. Each orchid species has its own blooming season, which can run from as early as April in the case of the Early-purple orchid to as late as September for the Autumn ladies tresses.

The main threats to wild orchids in the UK are habitat change and destruction. In Britain, orchids are protected by the Wildlife And Countryside Act, 1981, which states that it is an offence to uproot them unless you have permission from the land owner.

UES spotted these wild orchids whilst completing ecological surveys in Cheshire, Liverpool, and Hampshire.