A volunteer team of Lay Vaccinators managed to vaccinate two badgers against Bovine Tuberculosis this week - the first badgers to be vaccinated in East Sussex.
Traps were baited with peanuts to encourage the badgers to go inside and in the early hours of Tuesday, August 26, the first badger was vaccinated. The first two badgers were caught in Oakwood Drive and vaccinated prior to release.
“The weather was not a dry as forecast overnight and as a result the capture rate was slower than expected, and this is part of the reason why you vaccinate over two or three nights,” said Trevor Weeks MBE from the Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service.
Kathy Martyn from Oakwood Drive said, “I’ve had badgers visiting my garden for a number of years on and off and when I found out that the Badger Vaccination Project were vaccinating badgers here, I offered my garden to them. I am delighted that these were the first two badgers to be vaccinated.”
Kate Edmonds, Sussex Badger Vaccination Project Director, added, “Having the use of Kathy’s garden has been useful as it is unclear whether her badgers are the same as those which are using the Horse Sanctuary land, but it gave us an valuable additional site which we added to our Natural England licence.”
Although the land is not a cattle farm, there is neighbouring and close-by land which is farmed and grazed by cattle. The Sussex Badger Vaccination Project now has six other farms now interested in badger vaccination on their land which the group hopes to help with at the cheapest possible price.
Volunteers from the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project will return over the next few years to re-vaccinate the badger to help build up the herd immunity in the local badger population. “We are not aiming to, nor need to vaccinate every badger to be successful. Following well established protocols set out by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, we aim to catch about 80 per cent of the local badger population each time, which is more than sufficient to make an impact of the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis,” said Trevor Weeks MBE.