The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has just completed a third year of badger vaccination in its Castle Woods nature reserve, Llandeilo.
The steep woodlands of Castle Woods are home to a large number of badger setts, and rare breed cattle graze on the adjacent pasture land, including along the fertile Tywi valley.
Vaccination of the Castle Woods badgers began in 2014, when thirty four animals were inoculated against bovine tuberculosis (bTB) using an injectable BCG vaccine. The exercise was repeated in 2015, before having to be suspended on account of a global vaccine shortage.
Vaccines became available in 2018
Vaccine became available again in 2018, and thanks to support from the Welsh Government, as well as donations from the Wildlife Trust’s own members and supporters, the programme has been able to recommence this month.
The work at Castle Woods will help to protect the resident badger population against the disease, and contribute to the benefits of the many other cattle-based and farm biosecurity measures already in place to help protect cattle in the local area from TB.
WTSWW is working in partnership with EcoCon, a badger vaccination specialist, to deliver this work. EcoCon offer nationwide contract badger vaccination services to the agricultural and environmental sectors.
Dr Lizzie Wilberforce, Conservation Manager for The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, said
“It’s fantastic to be able to re-start this important programme. The Wildlife Trusts have long campaigned against badger culling as an effective solution to TB in cattle, and this piece of work makes us part of an alternative solution.”
“We believe strongly in the importance of a viable agricultural sector, and we rely heavily ourselves on cattle, for the management of our own land holding. It’s incredibly important that we tackle the problem of bovine TB. However, badgers in Wales are a crucial part of our ecosystem; they are our largest remaining terrestrial carnivore, and an iconic feature of our shared environmental heritage that needs to be protected and preserved. The work we are doing in Castle Woods is one step towards making both of these a reality.”
Rebecca Killa, the Wildlife Trust’s Carmarthenshire Officer, who was also involved in the programme, said
“This has been a brilliant project so far, it feels great to be doing something to help protect these fascinating animals and be part of a more humane solution to bTB.”
Donations can be made by phone by calling 01656 724100 and asking to donate to the Badger Appeal.