Opinion Former Article

RSPCA rescues badger stuck down hole after illegal interference

An RSPCA inspector this afternoon rescued a badger stuck down a hole that had been covered up illegally.


Inspector Justin Stubbs was called out to a public bridleway near the village of Morborne near Peterborough after a couple out walking had noticed the badger sett had been interfered with and then seen the stuck animal.


Inspector Stubbs said: “There were at least 20 entrances so the badger sett and every single one had been filled in with earth and sticks, probably within the previous 24 hours. Some of the setts showed obvious signs of where a spade had been used. The badger that was stuck had been trying to dig her way out of the sett for a long time, but had become wedged between a triangle of thick tree roots”


The badger had managed to get her head, front legs, and chest out, but was unable to then move forwards or backwards once her hips reached the roots. There were scratch marks where she had been struggling all over the roots.


Inspector Stubbs said: “Normally, when I approach a badger, even a badly injured one, it will try to escape and become very active. This one however, to begin with put up little fight, indicating exhaustion. I had already called Cambridgeshire police for some assistance owing to how severe the virtual demolition of the setts was, and how serious an offence that is”.


The RSPCA inspector and two police officers then spent the next hour sawing at the roots, digging at the earth, and trying to increase the gap the badger was stuck in. Inspector Stubbs said: “ After a good amount of effort, mainly on the badger’s part, she was free, spent a minute or so getting her bearings and presumably ridding herself of a horrendous case of pins and needles, and ran off deeper into the copse.”


The RSPCA is appealing for information on who interfered with the sett. Anyone found guilty of the offence can face a fine of up to £20,000 under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.


Inspector Stubbs added: “Had it not been for a couple of local walkers knowing enough about the local wildlife that they realised something was wrong, this badger would certainly have died. The fear and exhaustion it must have been suffering from would have been awful.”



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