Over the past several decades, various authors have produced books which
provide new and important information about badgers. Ernest Neal wrote several
books based on the careful observation of badgers over many years. Hans Kruuk
wrote another book based on his observation of badgers and their social
structures; and their feeding patterns in different parts of Scotland. Chris
Cheeseman added to the literature by adding lots of useful academic work on
badgers (and disease) in an intensively studied collection of localised badger
clans. Other scientists have also made their marks in textbooks and
peer-reviewed science journals. On the face of things you might wonder whether
there is any room for a new badger book; where so many people have published so
much before. Andy Parr's book builds on his many years careful observation of
badgers in the wild, and then on his work as wildlife release manager of the
UK's best badger rehabilitation and release charity.
In terms of badger rescue, it is very tempting to simply see a badger cub and
decide that the "best" thing to do is to take it into the care of a rescue
centre; where it can be looked after and, one assumes, released some days, weeks
or months later. The very presence of an animal rescue centre probably makes
people think that it "must" be the best thing to do to take a badger ito care.
Also, with badgers being such a popular and keynote wild mammal, there is every
incentive for people to "want" to rescue a badger without making any objective
assessment as to what is best for the badger.
Andy's book starts with a discussion of the research involved in his work;
and goes through many of the practical issues which are essential (badger
experience, local knowledge, equipment needed, etc). It then goes through a
series of badger rescues, discussing each one in detail; going through each of
the relevant circumstances, discussing the pros and cons of what happened, and
the human and badger thought processes involved. Such an approach provides the
reader with a real basis for learning and improving how they deal with badger
rescues. Because Andy has worked with badgers for so long, there are enough
examples to be pretty sure that the reader will be able to find practical and
useful advice in abundance.
Whilst this book is vital for the experienced badger rescuer; it also gives
critically important information which the public can relate to as well. Various
sections go through checklists such as how to gather accurate information about
locations, setts, cubs, as well as unique photos to help the reader determine
the accurate age of a badger cub. Of course, the age of a badger cub has
enormous relevance to how it may be returned to its home sett or taken into long
term rehabilitation. Whereas snippets of information about badger care is
available on-line; this book collects most of it together in one easy-to-use
The book uniquely addresses the problems of deciding whether badger should be
quickly returned to the wild or taken in to long term rehabilitation at a rescue
centre. In the past it was easy to assume that all badger cubs needed to be
rescued and rehabbed. Rehab may not be the best solution for every badger cub.
Andy shows that, in very many cases, the best outcome for badger cubs may well
be to a plan for and attempt a careful release at the home sett as soon as
humanely possible. There is so much useful information in this book; it should
sit on the bookshelf alongside the best of the books by other badger experts. So
far as badgers are concerned, it is THE essential book for all badger groups and
wildlife rescue people.