Badger - Geoff Trinder
Badgers and BTB
The badger is one of Britain's best loved animals and part of our national heritage. However, badgers can carry bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and have been implicated in the spread of the disease to cattle.
The Wildlife Trusts are very conscious of the hardship that bovine TB (bTB) causes in the farming community and the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease. However, we believe that a badger cull is not the answer. Biosecurity and vaccination should be at the centre of efforts to tackle this disease rather than a badger cull.
Tackling the disease should therefore include the following measures:
- Biosecurity: All possible measures should be pursued to prevent disease transmission on-farm.
- Badger vaccination: Support landowners to use the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine. We also urge Defra to continue development of an oral badger vaccine.
- Cattle vaccine: Complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure change to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment.
As bovine TB is not currently an issue in Lincolnshire, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is not running, and has no immediate plans for a badger vaccination programme. We would consider vaccinating healthy badgers if a reactor was found in our cattle herd, other cattle grazing our land or in a herd nearby. We will also continue to maintain high standards of biosecurity. We will monitor the situation carefully and if the need arises, we will reassess our position and the need for direct action.
For further information about badgers, bTB and vaccination programmes run by Wildlife Trusts in counties were bTB is present, please visit The Wildlife Trusts website.
Take action for badgers
Ash dieback and other tree diseases
Ash dieback disease is caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea. It results in leaf loss and crown dieback in the affected trees and has the potential to devastate the ash tree population.
Most of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust's woodland nature reserves are noted as oak/ash woodlands with fine, mature examples of both species being found. A diverse range of insects and lichens are also found living on ash trees. The loss of ash trees in these woodlands, and in the wider countryside, will fundamentally change the character of our woodlands and landscape. Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust field staff are fully aware of the symptoms of the disease.
This latest threat to the countryside emphasises the need to act local. There should be no need to import ash trees. All Lincolnshire tree planting schemes use tree seedlings of local provenance: using seeds that have been collected locally.
Ash dieback disease was first confirmed in Britain in February 2012 at a tree nursery in Buckinghamshire. The cases in late October 2013 at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Lower Wood reserve in Ashwellthorpe (an ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest) and the Woodland Trust's Pound Farm woodland in Suffolk confirmed that the disease had spread into the wild.
Detailed information on the disease and recognising the main symptoms can be found on the Forestry Commission website.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust works very closely with the police on numerous wildlife issues, such as badger digging and a variety of illegal shooting and firearms-related incidents. Wildlife-related law is a complex issue and the police have delegated officers to specialise in this area.
For further information visit our Wildlife Crime page.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust does not assist with the care and rehabilitation of sick and injured animals.
For further information and contact details visit our Care of sick and injured animal page.