Operation Brockwatch Update

Following the successful launch of Operation Brockwatch over a year ago, we are delighted with its progress to date in helping to protect vulnerable badgers and their setts and look forward to this initiative doubling as part of year two!

Winter is the season when badger clans spend much less time above ground as the availability of their food becomes scarce. These nocturnal animals will have feasted on autumn fruits and their staple diet of earthworms and grubs to build up fat reserves for this current lean period. Although badgers do not hibernate, they rely on their fat reserves as the nights grow colder.

Badgers mate at any time during the year but a process called delayed implantation takes place, exactly the same as happens with bears. The pregnancy actually begins in December when the female prepares a nesting chamber packed with lots of fresh bedding and then she patiently waits for the cubs to be born in mid February, with spring just around the corner.  This is natures way of ensuring that food is plentiful when the mother brings her tiny playful cubs above ground in late April or early May.

Badgers are extremely clean animals who change their bedding regularly and dig latrines outside their setts and at their territory boundaries.  When our Operation Brockwatch operatives visit setts during the winter months they notice a lot of activities are scaled back but the team still capture footage of the badgers going out on short nocturnal wanderings. The team not only check the cameras and setts, but also scrutinise surrounding hedgerows for snares and cage traps and of course, remove any litter encountered.

Sadly, badger setts are currently at their most vulnerable as callous and cunning criminals target lactating females as in their warped thinking they provide a better test for their unfortunate dogs. Operation Brockwatch will always be at the vanguard of trying to keep these protected animals safe from harm from these people. Our position is very clear, the perpetrators of these dreadful crimes need to be apprehended, be given meaningful custodial sentences and be banned from owning or possessing any animal for life. If you witness or are aware of badger persecution taking place at a sett close to you, please contact the PSNI or Crimestoppers without hesitation and help us put a stop to this despicable cruelty to both badgers and dogs, once and for all.