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North East Hampshire Badger Group - Autumn 2023 Newsletter

Welcome to our quarterly newsletter which provides news on what the North East Hampshire Badger Group have been up to over the past quarter and plans for the future, plus news from Badger Trust. You can also keep up to date by following us on our social media platforms and our website Blog in the Members Section.


Contents:

• Group Updates

• Badger Trust News

• Dates and Events for Your Diary

• A Poem about Badgers

• Kallie’s Corner


Group Updates:


The Group has had a very busy quarter with lots of activities being run, below are details on what we have been up to locally:


Summer Social and AGM – we held our first Summer Social and AGM which was a huge success. Our Chairman, Nick, gave an informative update on the Group’s activities which was followed by a chance to mingle and get to know everyone whilst eating delicious homemade cakes and snacks. We had some new members sign up on the day as well. Thank you to everyone that joined us. Our next Social will be in January, see the Events section for more information.


Night-Time Cull Patrol – we held a peaceful, lawful patrol in the Area 56 cull zone. The aim was to raise awareness of the cull, prevent those with cull licenses from acting, and to rescue any badgers that had been injured. We had a fantastic turnout for this night-time event.


Group Sett Surveying – we have started up our Group Sett Surveys and have had great attendance for the first two. The surveys usually take place during the weekend, and it is a great chance for like minded nature lovers to get together and not only seek out badger setts, but take in everything else nature has to offer with many of the group being extremely knowledgeable in other areas such as fungi, plants and trees, insects, birds, amphibians & reptiles etc. We will be holding further sett surveys once a month through to Spring. Details can be found in the Events section and on our social media. If you have not had a chance to come to one of the surveys, we really would recommend it.




Rescue Work – with the money we have received from membership fees and donations we will be purchasing some additional rescue equipment so we can expand our area coverage and eventually provide a 24-hour service. Nick has attended several rescue callouts which included a potential poisoning. We are currently working on producing a list of vets in the Hampshire area who will treat badgers we rescue with out of hours support so we can get the badgers medical attention in the quickest possible time. We are also still looking for a location with a suitable sett or where an artificial sett can be built to release rescued badgers. The four orphaned badgers from 2022 ended up being released in Yorkshire but there is now a new clan of orphans from this Spring ready to be released. The team are following up on a potential artificial sett option. If you know any landowners with suitable space on which we can build artificial badger setts for releases going forward, please let us know.


Education – Nick provided an educational talk to a group of children who attend the Titchfield Haven Forest School. They had a visit to Stubbington Study Centre where they have a badger hide and Nick provided an informative talk while the children watched the badgers. You can read more about this from our youngest member, who also attended, in Kallie’s Corner at the end of the newsletter.


Friends – we are continuing to form relationships with other nature groups in Hampshire. Some of our members attended the Natural Basingstoke relaunch and 10 Year anniversary event where the team had a chance to network with many other local nature groups. Nick

is involved with the Greening campaign with Greening Fleet and the ‘Space for Nature’ pillar being led by H&IWWT. We also have talks coming up with the Yateley Society, Wilder Bishops Waltham and a return event with Wilder Bramley.


Growing the Group – we would like to thank all of our valued members for your dedication to the group and in helping badgers. All membership funds and donations go towards helping badgers and as you can see from our Events section there are lots of activities to get involved with too. We would like to continue to grow the group so if you know anyone who might be interested in joining us as a member, please point them in our direction. Membership is £10 per adult and £5 for under 18s for a whole year.


BADGER TRUST NEWS


State of the Badger Pilot Project – exciting news is that Hampshire has been included as an additional area under the State of the Badger pilot, so it is a perfect opportunity to get involved and become a Badger Champion. Badger Trust has secured funding for a pilot project to locate, survey and map badger setts through a badger group/citizen science led approach. Volunteers will be trained and asked to walk predetermined “transects” and record their findings. Success of the pilot will lead to a nationwide roll-out and allow us to determine the health and size of our badger population and its distribution. Crucially, it will be used to raise awareness of the plight of badgers in England and Wales through an expanded volunteer network and educational engagement with the wider public. If you are interested in taking part in the pilot, head to the Badger Trust website where you can sign up directly under the ‘State of the Badger’ section. Don’t forget to select that you are from the North East Hampshire Badger Group when signing up.


Cull Update – The intensive badger cull period for 2023 has just ended, but supplementary cull zones continue with cage trapping due to finish on 30th November 2023 and free shooting as late as 31st January 2024. Badger Trust recently published an article which showed that it is the cull companies themselves that are trusted to keep track of badger populations and ensure they are sustainable despite having a clear conflict of interest in killing badgers for profit. Alongside this revelation, and in a clear warning to Defra, the Bern Convention on Animal Welfare announced this month that it will continue to monitor the UK government’s approach to badger culling in England. The complaint against the UK government, brought by Born Free, Badger Trust and Eurogroup for Animals, alleges the government is in breach of international wildlife treaty obligations after failing to consider the cull’s impact on the badger population. The complaint remains on file through to 2026, an unprecedented decision.


Space for Badgers Campaign – Badger Trust have released new protection guides for England and Wales focused on planning and development issues and the impacts these can have on badgers, their setts and habitats. These guides aim to widen knowledge and make best practice requirements easier to understand among planners, developers, ecologists, local authorities, wildlife crime investigators and nature lovers so that badgers are properly protected. North East Hampshire Badger Group’s Chairman, Nick, is one of the Badger Trust’s Planning and Development Working Group members who produced the guides.


Online Safety Bill – Badger Trust has been one of the leading campaigners to include animal cruelty in the bill, alongside coalition partners in the AFA Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition and the Alliance to Counter Crime Online. Many of the charity’s supporters joined other campaigners in writing to MPs and members of the House of Lords to urge this change and in September the government introduced animal cruelty into the scope of the bill.


Tackling Bovine TB Together – Badger Trust will be releasing a new report soon on Tackling Bovine TB Together – Towards Sustainable, Scientific, and Effective bTB Solutions.


New Chair and Vice Chair – the Badger Trust Board has elected a new Chair and Vice Chair. Rosie Wood is moving from Vice Chair to Chair. Rosie has been a strong campaigner for badgers, building on her knowledge of the policy-making world gained from her former work as a senior civil servant and background as a conservationist. Rosie says her priority is to help end the cull and take the ineffectual culling of badgers off the table as a policy option for good. The new Vice Chair is Phil Loveday who is a secondary school teacher who originally trained as a biology teacher, giving him a strong science base. Phil hopes to develop Badger Trust’s work in education so that many more people can learn about badgers, understand their crucial role in Britain’s ecology and be less likely to be misled by the misinformation.


Badger Symposium – Badger Trust will be holding a Badger Symposium on 6th July 2024 in Leamington Spa. Further details will be announced nearer the time.


The Badgers of Wytham Woods Book Offer – a massive price reduction is now available on the hardback edition of The Badgers of Wytham Woods: A Model for Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution. Treat yourself to an early Christmas present. The special offer is currently only available from the OUP website (offer available while stocks last).


Brock Shop is Open – talking of Christmas,

Badger Trust has an online shop via their website providing a wonderful array of gifts and products. You can find unique gifts for yourself or your loved ones knowing that 100% of the profit helps protect badgers for generations to come. All the products in the shop are designed in the UK by local artists and artisans so you are also supporting British talent as well as our beloved badgers!



Dates & Events for Your Diary


Wednesday 22nd November 2023 at 7pm, Online

The meeting is your place to hear all the latest updates, including Badger Trust plans and progress, updates on campaigns and crime. They will also have updates on the RSPCA, vets treating badgers, their symposium and some new resources! This meeting will have a dedicated session and an exclusive look at their new report, Tackling Bovine TB Together - Towards Sustainable, Scientific, and Effective bTB Solutions, which will be released soon!

There will also be dedicated time for a Q&A session, so if you have any questions, you can email them in advance to groups@badgertrust.org.uk or bring them up on the day.

Register your place now


Friday 24th November 2023 11am – 2pm, London

Meet at: Old Palace Yard, Westminster, SW1P 3JY

Badger Groups are being urged to join the protest in London on 24th November and speak up for badgers. The Government is on the verge of announcing a consultation on epidemiological culling, which could see the killing of 100% of badgers in a chosen area. Event information from the organiser:

Come along and show the Government that we will never stop fighting against the Badger Cull.

Let's make this the biggest Badger Protest since the early days. Bring your badger suits, masks, and placards. Bring your voice and your passion. Bring your family and friends.


Over the past ten years, the Government has killed nearly a quarter of a million badgers in this cruel and unscientific slaughter of our beautiful badgers. Around 260,000 are likely to be dead by Christmas. There will be various speakers, including Badger Trust, and the protest will happen whatever the weather!

Full details are on the organiser's Facebook Event Page


Sunday 3rd December 2023 10am, near Buriton

Exact meeting location will be confirmed asap on our Facebook event - Sett survey 3rd December

If you are not on Facebook please send an email to

info@northeasthampshirebadgergroup.com and we will email you the details.


Date TBC – January 2024

Our Christmas social event will now take place in January 2024 and details will be shared as soon as they are finalised. This will be an informal social event at a pub where members will have the opportunity to chat with each other as well as the committee. Friends and family of members are of course welcome too.


Thursday 18th January 2024 7.30pm, Bishop's Waltham

Venue: St Peter's Church Hall, Free Street, Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire, SO32 1EE Nick Cole, our Chair, will be giving a presentation to Wilder Bishop’s Waltham on all things Badger related.

Tickets can be booked via the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (see link below) or may be obtained on the door. Tickets are £4 each and under 18s free. Proceeds go to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Get your tickets here


More upcoming sett surveys

Details will be on our Facebook events. If you’re not on Facebook send us an email and we will notify you of the details. info@northeasthampshirebadgergroup.com

• Sunday 21st January 2024 10am, location tbc

• Sunday 25th February 2024 10am, Well

Details of any other events we run or attend will be added to our Facebook page and blog.


A Poem about Badgers……

In moonlit glades where shadows play,

A badger roams at close of day.

With fur like dusk and eyes so keen,

In nature's realm, a sovereign queen.

Yet shadows cast a somber hue,

Upon the badger's life, it's true.

For sett and burrow, safe abode,

Are threatened by a human code.

Through fields and meadows, badgers roam,

Their ancient paths, a sacred home.

But the sett is pierced, disrupted, torn,

By forces that the wild mourn.

A cull, a threat, a bitter plight,

As badgers vanish into night.

Their stripes of black, a fading song,

As progress claims where they belong.

Oh, badger, with your silent plea,

In woods and fields, your legacy.

We hear your whispers on the breeze,

As nature sighs among the trees.

Let's guard the sett, protect the wild,

For badgers, like a fearless child,

Deserve a realm where shadows dance,

And humans offer a second chance.

By AI


Kallie’s corner

Hello friends! It was lovely to see so many people on the sett survey the other week. Mummy still hasn’t found the sett though! Mummy and I skipped Cubs a few Fridays ago to go to a Badger hide with Nick. We saw 6 Badgers, 6 foxes and 2 deer!


The children we went with, from a local wildlife group, were very excited to see the Badgers.


See you all soon.


Kallie






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