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Beware Badgers Crossing


01 Feb 2004 - Scotland online Outdoors/ScotlandOnLine.Com

Drivers on the A96 route between Inverness and Nairn are being asked to lookout for badgers crossing the road after reports that 24 badgers were killed on the stretch last year.

Scottish Natural Heritage are hoping drivers will "think badger" after receiving reports from concerned members of the public about badgers being run over and killed, including details of how many and where the badger deaths occurred.

The report showed four badgers were killed in both February and August, three were killed in July, September and December while only in November were there no deaths. It also identified danger areas with nine killed near Petty Church, seven near Morayhill (Norbord) and three at the Ardersier junction.

SNH area officer, Anne Youngman, said, "Badgers are creatures of habit and will use the same routes they have used for many years, even at the risk of crossing busy roads. The high numbers of deaths near Petty Church and Morayhill suggests that there are badger paths crossing the A96 in these two locations.

"Motorists should be aware that badgers may be encountered anywhere along the A96 but between Inverness and Nairn these two places deserve extra caution.

"We are very grateful to those who take the time to report dead badgers to us and ask that they continue to do so. Thanks to one of the reports we have now been able to identify the worst locations and the worst months for badger road deaths, so we can be more specific when asking people to take care.

"We will also look closer at what goes on around the worst affected areas and whether there is anything that can be done to help the problem. Meanwhile, as we are now approaching February, reported to be one of the worst months, we ask anyone using this and other roads in the north to take extra care and think badger."

Although not particularly rare, badgers are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the 1982 Badgers Act, because of badger-bating. They are more common in the south of England, but are also frequently spotted in the Highlands, particularly to the east of Inverness.

They like banks for digging and burrowing, and pastures with short mown grass for earth worms. They are nocturnal creatures, usually only seen at night or around dawn and dusk. Unfortunately most sightings are usually of dead animals by the roadside.

Anyone reporting badger road deaths should include their name and contact number, a description (e.g. one small and one large badger), the date and approximate time of day of the sighting, and either a grid reference or clear description of the location. Reports should be sent to Anne Youngman, SNH, Fodderty Way, Dingwall Business Park, Dingwall IV15 9XB.

In addition to badgers, other wildlife killed on the A96 and reported to SNH include fox, deer, pheasant, polecat, buzzard, hare and barnowl.

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