‘The series is an amazing achievement’ The Times Literary Supplement
‘The books are glorious to own’ Independent
A comprehensive natural history of one of Britain’s favourite animals
by Tim Roper [Paperback]
The badger has for many years occupied a unique place in the British
consciousness. Despite the fact that most people have never seen one, the
badger has become one of Britain's best-loved animals. The number of
organisations that use the badger as a logo, the number of websites
featuring information about badgers, and the number of voluntary badger
protection societies that exist are testament to this popularity.
In fact, the attitude of most ordinary people towards badgers is complex
and contradictory, involving a combination of familiarity and ignorance,
concern and indifference. For an increasing number of people, badgers
constitute an important source of interest and pleasure, be it through
watching them in their gardens or in the wild, sharing badger-related
knowledge and experiences with others via the internet, or defending badgers
against threats to their welfare. For others, on the other hand, badgers are
a problem species that requires active management.
In this highly anticipated new study, Prof Tim Roper explores every
aspects of the biology and behaviour of these fascinating animals. In doing
so, he reveals the complexities of a lifestyle that allows badgers to build
communities in an astonishing variety of habitats, ranging from pristine
forests to city centres. He also reveals the facts behind the controversy
surrounding the badgers' role in transmitting tuberculosis to cattle,
shedding new light on an issue that has resulted in one of the most
extensive wildlife research programmes ever carried out.
The book contains the very latest research on this
fascinating animal. It is full of interesting facts and it is superbly
illustrated throughout. There is no comparable book currently in print. I highly
It is 14 years since the last comparable
book on badgers (Neal and Cheeseman, 1996) was published, and that this one
is considerably larger reflects the great amount of research that has been
carried out since that time. The book is divided into ten chapters, plus an
appendix on how to survey for the species. The issue of badger culling is
not avoided, indeed badgers and bovine TB gets a whole chapter to itself.
The author manages to explain the pros and cons of the various approaches.
For example, inoculating cows is obviously easier than inoculating badgers,
but available vaccines are more effective on badgers than they are on cows.
Many years ago the New Naturalist series included a
second series of monographs on single species. A book on badgers was the
first of the monographs, just as the species is the first to get a book to
itself in the main series. If further books on a single species can keep up
this high standard I am sure that 'Badger' will not be the last time the
publishers take this approach.