Badger found blocked up in dam­aged sett

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Thorntononthursday - By David Sey­mour

An RSPCA in­spec­tor had to dig a dis­tressed badger out of its sett af­ter it had been il­le­gally blocked up with piles of earth. Acou­ple had been walking on a bri­dle­way near Mor­borne, out­side Peter­bor­ough, when they spot­tedthatthe­bad­ger­set­thad been in­ter­fered with, and then saw the stuck an­i­mal.

Theyalerted RSPCAIn­spec­tor Justin Stubbs who came to the an­i­mal’s aid.

He­said: “Therew­ereatleast 20 en­trances to 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 had­beenused. The­bad­gerthat wasstuck­had­been­try­ing­todig her way­outof the sett for a long time, but had be­come wedged be­tween a tri­an­gle of thick tree roots.”

The­fe­male­bad­ger­had­man­aged to get its head, front legs, and chest out, but was un­able to then move­for­wards or back­wards once its hips reached the roots. There were scratch mark­swhereit had­been­strug­gling over the roots.

In­spec­torS­tubb­s­said:“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 settswas, and how se­ri­ous an of­fence that is.”

In­spec­tor Stubbs and two po­lice of­fi­cers spent an hour, on the af­ter­noon of De­cem­ber 30, saw­ing at the roots, dig­ging at the earth, and try­ing to in­crease the gap the badger was stuck in. Once free, the badger ran off into copse.

The RSPCA in­spec­tor 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 been­suf­fer­ingfrom­would­have been aw­ful.”

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.

The badger pic­tured in its blocked sett by RSPCA Insp Justin Stubbs.

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