The first two Rounds of the 2023 Badger vaccination went well.
It was lovely to be revisiting sites well known to us, but even more special that we got to share that experience with one of our trustees on the first Round.
We would like to say a massive thank you to all those that have donated this year so far, we can't run the project without your donations, and we understand how hard things are for everyone now.
Secondly, we would like to say a huge thank you to The Badger Trust for their grant which enabled us to buy new fridge batteries, vaccine, and PPE for the volunteers.
Last Saturday I had the privilege of going out with Debbie & her team on the 1st vaccination morning of this year’s season. I’ve been involved in every ‘backroom’ aspect of the vaccination project from the start – from writing grant applications, fundraising to ordering peanuts and other supplies. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what the actual field work involves.
Seeing the vaccination team at work is – literally - a real eye-opener. The alarm went off at 3.30 am – EYES OPEN, GET IN THE SHOWER, WAKE UP, COFFEE, GLAD I’M NOT DRIVING, DID I REALLY VOLUNTEER FOR THIS??? No time to waste, they don’t hang around for late comers!
We arrived at the meet with half an hour to spare and watched the sky lighten with the promise of a bright sunny day. At 5am the ‘fun’ began as the team swung into action with military precision. The runners went off to check the cages and I waited with Debbie back at base. Then the reports started to come in … which cages held a badger?
Debbie calmly completed the paperwork, made up the vaccine and placed the syringes in the carry cases.
September arrives and we really notice the earlier coming of night. Our vaccination teams always want to be sure they are away from the woods and fields before our stripey friends emerge from their setts, making sure we do not disturb them. We also really notice the ending of our vaccination season, and miss the challenges and fun it brings, all shared with differing members of the team.
Our latest Round of badger vaccination took place during some of the hottest temperatures on record.
Luckily for the badgers on the farms and other lands, we were working on during this time they all had access to nearby freshwater sources.
If your local badgers don’t, or the water source has dried up, please put down a shallow dish of water, you could save a life.
Once again, a big thank you to all our volunteers who continued to go out each evening to check on the badgers and put food down for them.
We were fortunate that by the vaccination weekend, the weather had dropped 10 degrees making it much more comfortable for badgers and volunteers alike.
Another successful Round, which we couldn't do without the financial help from the public - Thank you.
Having joined OBG a while before, it wasn’t until after Lockdown in 2021 that I became actively involved. Oh - the sheer joy of being outdoors, in woods and fields, on footpaths and tracks – with just a few like-minded people.
The 2021 badger vaccination season is over for the Oxfordshire Badger group so now it’s time to give out some HUGE thank-you’s !
The harvest is nearly all collected, and it is noticeable that the evenings are starting to draw in. Being out vaccinating badgers early in the morning means we also notice the sun rising later, and our early mornings aren’t quite so early.
It is always with a sense of completion and a little sadness when we pack up and leave a site after another Round of badger vaccination has ended.
Over the two weeks we are out building relationships with the landowners, many of them who help by coming out with us. Studying every footprint, snuffle hole and latrine, following every trail, getting to know the badger’s movements, comparing trail camera footage, and analysing bait point take up.
What a start to the season! With new volunteers keen to get involved, Round one of 2021 began with our core team of 8 being joined by 6 new volunteers on 4 sites. After all the recent rain, the weather was on our side and we vaccinated over two beautiful May mornings.
We were also very lucky that the landowners wanted to get involved as well, sharing their knowledge of their own land, their insights into how the badgers used their land. We were also given a massive advantage as three of the landowners were proficient with trail cameras.
Oxfordshire Badger Group’s vaccination 2021 season will be starting in a few weeks and we are all getting VERY excited. We are back this year bigger than ever, with double the number of
vaccination sites and new volunteers.
Over the winter we have secured a grant from The Badger Trust to contribute towards training more licenced volunteers. We also received a generous donation from Mr. Lumpy and Friends, which
will help pay for a new portable vaccine fridge. This will allow us to operate a second, independent team on vaccination mornings.
Thank you for all your support and donations during 2020. Please continue to support our vaccination project throughout 2021.
OBG was delighted to host the 3rd in a series of webinars with the Badger Trust. Our guests were Dominic Dyer, Debbie Bailey and Craig Fellows. We chatted about the badger cull, vaccination and wildlife crime. The video is available to view here.
A good article by Tom Williams in the Oxford Mail on 16th January. Well worth a read.