Call to help protect a favourite English animal

A concerned animal lover is calling for speed restrictions on a stretch of road where badgers are being killed by motorists.

Catherine Carolan of Great Ashby in Stevenage wants speed bumps, cameras or road signs to be installed on Gresley Way beside Box Wood where she has seen four dead badgers in the six months she has lived in the area.

“As far as I am aware badgers are an endangered species, so I can’t believe I have witnessed four in the short time I have been here, and all are on the same stretch of road.

“We as a society have some responsibility to try and protect endangered species where possible. Surely some basic measures would reduce the amount of badgers killed on this particular road which is next to a nature reserve.”

Sandra Norval, Stevenage representative for the Herts and Middlesex Badger Group, said the animals come from a sett in the woods closely monitored by the group, and it was not uncommon to see a rise in deaths at this time of year. She added that they are not endangered, but protected by law from those who carry out illegal blood sports.

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“At this time of year the sett is starting to become active after several months spent underground keeping warm,” she said. “The females give birth to several cubs and the mother and babies remain in the sett until food is more plentiful around April.

“Occasionally mothers will go out to forage for food, replenish bedding and to use the latrines that they create around the sett but it is the males that are much more likely to be found out and about.

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“As with all mammals, badgers have territories and from time to time the males will outgrow the sett and either decide to seek out a new area, or will be seen off by other males. Because of all this movement, we often see an increase in road casualties around this period.

“It is a sad fact of life but is difficult to prevent. It is important that road casualties are recorded wherever possible as this helps us to ensure that there are no orphaned cubs left to suffer, to protect setts and discover new ones.”

She added that anyone seen interfering with a sett should be reported to the police immediately by calling 999.

A spokesman for Herts Highways, the authority responsible for speed restrictions on the county’s roads said it was improbable it could do anything to help protect badgers in the economic climate.

She said: “When designing new roads we do, where possible, make provision for wild animals crossing the road and there are a number of culverts specifically put in for that purpose. Residents are welcome to contact us directly with their concerns, although in the current financial climate it is unlikely that there is much we can do.”

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