Volunteers in East Sussex are putting preparations in place to vaccinate badgers against an infectious disease.
The Sussex Badger Vaccination Project (SBVP) spent last week pre-baiting and setting badger traps to catch the animals and vaccinate them against bovine tuberculosis.
Badgers have been linked to the spread of TB in cattle and as a result, trial culls have been rolled out in other parts of the country to try and stop the problem. However, Trevor Weeks MBE, from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, claims vaccinating the animals is ‘more sustainable’ than culling. He said, “Initially we are concentrating on the southern part of East Sussex between Eastbourne and Brighton – heading up to the A27.
“There have been recurring TB outbreaks and it is classed as a high risk area by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, so we are quite keen to work with landowners. We hope this is going to make a huge difference and we know it is a very positive thing.
“The public is behind vaccination work, it is good for the cattle, good for the badgers and good for the public.
“We now have four sites we will be working on and we hope over the next five years we can roll this out further afield.”
Kate Edmonds, director of SBVP, added, “This is great news for Sussex’s badgers and cattle. Bovine tuberculosis is a huge problem for farmers and this is such a positive way forward in the fight against it.
“After doing some initial survey work earlier this year and working out the key target areas, we have been undertaking the pre-baiting by placing peanuts down, which helps us identify the best locations to trap and vaccinate on the land.
“It’s good news we now have four sites where the landowners have asked us to vaccinate badgers and we really appreciate them taking this initiative.”
The SBVP received funding from International Animal Rescue and the Southdowns Badger group to pay for the training for five volunteer vaccinators.
For more information, to get involved or to donate visit www.sussexbadgervac.co.uk