A message from Gloucestershire Badger Office, set up by members of Three Counties Sabs amongst others:
After 4 long years the official pilot cull in the Gloucestershire zone is now over, this having been confirmed to us at 4.30pm. People are still out on the ground this evening and tonight to ensure that this is the case.
The cull company can apply for new licences and setts will continue to be targeted in the Glos zone regardless: badger diggers and baiters, hunts (all of whom dig out setts), farmers and others will persecute badgers year-round. There is a long-term plan being put in place for the zone to protect the badgers who we have protected for so long with year-round sett-checking, hunt monitoring and sabotage and continuing work with the police against wildlife crime.
Badgers in other zones are still being targeted by the culls and we urge that anyone who is still willing and able to be in the field to transfer to one of the zones still continuing with culling.
Gloucestershire Badger Office will continue to operate indefinitely, continuing to help coordinate badger protection in Gloucestershire. Clearly the cull will spread and other areas will need sett-surveying. We have 4 years of experience running ‘the office’ for the cull and are happy to share experience, mistakes we made and learned from and so on with anyone who wants us to share with them. We intend to continue to run skill-share days, sett-surveying days and continue to be available to anyone who wishes to contact us for any reason.
We believe that one of the biggest lessons we have learned is that when the badger cull comes to an area resistance should be local-led, making full use of local knowledge, contacts, resources, communities, existing groups already working in the area and, above all, creating a badger protection community which will be sustainable and long-term, particularly if the cull will be rolled out to several new areas. People of all ages, class, backgrounds, professions and abilities came and walked footpaths, parked up in gateways, trudged miles sett-surveying, got rid of peanuts, smashed / cut up / rearranged hundreds of cages, acted as a deterrent for shooters, raised funds, enabled others to get here, did FOI requests and worked so hard to save thousands of lives both in the Glos zone and by slowing down roll-out to new areas.
The cull is likely to be coming to your area. For us it continues to be where we live and work so we will be very busy for some years to come. If we had one bit of advice it would be this: PREPARE NOW!
You need to know how to read a map or work with someone who can and have basic sett-surveying skills – much is online, but existing groups can help. Find the setts in your area and get to know the land well. By all means join in with others and form groups – certainly see if there are existing groups already working in your area who may also be planning something. If you are more of a lone operator it’s completely up to you what you do. The cull is only part of the problem for wildlife, however, and preparing for the cull also means you are more likely to find snares, larsen / fenn traps, blocked setts, badger-baiting, dig-outs by terriermen… it’s all countrywide. To get out and about locally is unbeatable.
The badger cull looks set to be part of the furniture concerning the massacre of our wildlife and resistance needs to be much more local-led in order for it to be sustainable and so ‘we’ can be part of the furniture too, eyes and ears on the ground for all wildlife, all year round.
It doesn’t matter whether you join a patrol, stay at home and fundraise, join a sab group, turn up in the zones and do as instructed by others, turn up in a zone and do what you want (best to communicate though to avoid duplication), form a community group against the cull, form an autonomous group and look after an area, sett-sit, do daytime sett-checking, go out at dawn looking for cage trappers… There really is something for everyone.
So with this episode of the cull over for the 2 pilot areas (Somerset and Gloucestershire) this is a call to arms to continue fighting, plotting, scheming and ‘pixying’.
Well done and thanks to all who have put in so much work, in various forms, over the years. We’re proud to have been a small part of this amazing team.