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http://www.newforest-badgers.org/NewsArticles/tabid/67/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/21/Chairmans-Report-for-2016.aspx

Presented to the AGM on 20 May 2017

NATIONAL SITUATION

The Government decided to extend the badger cull during autumn 2016 to include parts of Cornwall, Devon and Herefordshire as well as the existing areas in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

The cull figures published were as follows :-BADGER CULL 2013- 2016

Cull Achieved   2013    2014    2015
 2016
AREA 1 - Gloucestershire
921
274
 432
 252

AREA 2 - West Somerset

 940
 341
 279
 217
AREA 3 - West Dorset
 0
 0
 756
 502
AREA 4 - Cornwall
 
 
 
 711
AREA 5 - Cornwall
 
 
 
 851
AREA 6 - Devon
 
 
 
 2038
AREA 7 - Devon
 
 
 
 833
AREA 8 - Dorset
 
 
 
 3000
AREA 9 - Gloucestershire
 
 
 
 1858
AREA 10- Herefordshire
 
 
 
 624
YEARLY TOTAL CULLED
 1861
 615
 1467
 10886

 GRAND TOTAL                                                        14829

Once again due to the apparent shortage of vaccine, the vaccinations schemes scheduled for Wales and various parts of England were halted. Opposition to the concept of culling has continued from the Badger Trust and national organisations such as Brian May’s “Save Me” Trust and various local badger groups, but with little effect on the Government.

BADGER TRUST

The Badger Trust has undergone some significant changes during the year.

The original group of Trustees has been disbanded and the running of the Trust is now placed in the hands of the CEO - Dominic Dyer and the new Chairman – Peter Martin. Some major alterations are planned, some of which are disquieting and our committee feels that we may have to re-consider our links with the Trust. We will discuss this later at our AGM today.

NEW FOREST

As anticipated the Hampshire Wildlife Trust has been forced to discontinue the vaccination of badgers on its land due to the international shortage of vaccine.

The Dorset Mammal Group appears to have dropped its plans to take over the vaccination of badgers on the Crown Lands of the New Forest. So far as we know, no cases of bTB have been reported from cattle de-pastured on the Forest during 2016.

The usual work of responding to badger-related problems continues. Many of these are from disgruntled householders who have badgers visiting their gardens and who wish to exclude them although occasionally we hear from people who have a genuine interest in badgers and want to know more about them.

In addition as it seems we are the only functioning Badger Group in Hampshire, we get a lot of requests for advice on how to deal with badger problems from elsewhere in the County. Many of these seem to come from the Fareham/Portsmouth area, possibly caused by the expansion in building development that has occurred during the last few years.

Badger Deaths

As usual the vast majority of recorded deaths occur as road casualties.

A total of 39 dead badgers was noted, of which one was found nearly dead, exhibiting some severe fight injuries and which was later put down by a vet and one which had no obvious cause of death. 

The remainder were all killed on roads within the National Park.

Badger Rescue.

As you will hear from Julia shortly, no orphaned badgers were brought in this year but our two long-term captives continue to thrive under Julia’s tender care and are making good use of the pen extension that Kevin, Tony and I built in 2014.

Events

The pub evenings have continued through the autumn and winter. Due to early closing at the Queens Head in Burley on Mondays we switched to the Filly inn at Setley in September, only to find that they too adopted the same policy after Christmas. So we have changed again to the Hare and Hounds at Sway in 2017 where we now have a warm reception and don’t get thrown out at 9:30 pm any more.

As usual, we held four committee meetings during the year and I thank those committee members who allow us into their houses for this purpose. It certainly provides a big financial saving by not having to book a room elsewhere.

In addition, some of your committee attended the following events :-

18 Feb Inspection of captive badger holding facilities at Holmsley by R.S.P.C.A.

23 Feb Installing a trail camera in Ken and Frankie’s neighbour's garden to observe movements of badger which had set up home under Ken’s garage floor.

27 Mar Collected badger found dead from unknown cause at a new sett near Bransgore.

20 Apr Badger Group AGM at Brockenhurst in evening.

29 Apr Looked at minor badger problem in garden at Milford on Sea.

26 – 28 Jul Badger Group stand at New Forest Show.

20 Aug Badger Group sales stall at Lymington Market.

17 Oct Surveyed sett on National Trust land at Hale Purlieu with National Trust Ranger, Catherine Supple.

15 Nov Surveyed sett on private land at Hyde with Angela Peters of the National Park Authority.

Sett Monitoring

When the Group was first formed we used to attempt an estimate of the badger population in the Forest every year. This involved observers carrying out watches at a large number of setts throughout the summer months. Since those days the number of active watchers has reduced considerably and we decided to carry out the population estimate every 10 years instead. 

Next year – 2018 – will be the year of the next census. We hope that those of you who already regularly watch setts will continue to do so and possibly carry out checks at one or two additional setts as well. In addition we hope that some of you who currently do not watch setts will be prepared to make a special effort during 2018 and take on a sett or two to provide some observations. We need information from at least 50 setts to provide enough data to give a reasonably accurate estimate of population size.

We will concentrate on setts which show signs of current activity and we now have a trail camera which should make observations easier on the more difficult setts. I will send out a list of suggested setts to you all early in the New Year with an invitation to take on one or two of them to watch.

Meanwhile very many thanks to those of you who have continued to monitor their setts during 2016. However we are always looking for new sett watchers, so if any of you are interested then please let me know and we will arrange to allocate a sett for you to watch. Also will those of you who watched setts during 2016 and who still haven’t handed in their record cards, please do so now.


Martin Noble Chairman

Tel: 023 8045 0302   Royal Southern Yacht Club Rope Walk Hamble Southampton SO31 4HB
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