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Badgers in Wales 

The timid badger has suffered persecution for many centuries. The early Welsh tales, known collectively as the Mabinogion, contain a reference to mistreatment of the animal and it may be supposed that the badger's nocturnal lifestyle and shyness made ancient man suspicious that it represented the forces of darkness. Whatever the reasons, badgers remained practically friendless in Britain until 1973 when the Badgers Act (improved on by later acts) offered them a degree of protection. In 1974 the Gwent Badger Group was formed by some private individuals from Monmouthshire who felt that the badgers of their county needed people on the ground to help ensure that the old, cruel activities of badger digging and baiting finally came to an end. The group still flourishes and thanks to one of its officers I was able to visit a Monmouthshire sett, observe a family group as they emerged for an evening's foraging and to take the pictures for this note. 

Thankfully, most British people are now aware that interfering with badgers can result in an arrest and a jail sentence or heavy fine. The nature of the work of local badger groups has changed over the years but future generations will thank them for their continuing support of these fascinating animals. There are still loopholes in the law and perhaps because most people have never seen a live badger, these animals (and their rights) still do not attract widespread interest. My purpose in this note is make people aware that (in Britain at any rate) they probably have a local badger group and that it may well need their support. 
 

Check the National Federation of Badger Groups website for details of local groups.

 

 John Weston, 2000

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