Every year before the cull starts the cull companies put down many many traps, they are wired open so that they can’t catch any badgers. The reason they do this is because badgers are shy creatures and anything new in their environment they treat with suspicion.
Many of us are now wondering, with a roll out to 6 new areas, how we can be as effective as we were in the past, to stop culls from reaching the minimum targets, If we are to learn from previous years, having a look at data is quite important. This spreadsheet may help:
One of the really important figures to try and understand for the roll out areas is “traps set”, in 2014 there were 5,359 set in Glos and 7,598 set in Somerset although some won’t be in use every day and of course some go missing, if we divide those number by 42 which is the number of days of culling we can see there were approximately 131 traps set every day in Gloucestershire and 180 set every day in Somerset.
A total of 311 traps in use in total every day across both zones in 2014.
If we then look at 2015 when there was a roll out:
Dorset had 6,661 traps set, which is 158 traps set per day
Somerset had 3,667 traps set which is 87 traps set per day
Glos had 3,143 traps set which is 74 traps set per day
A total of 319 traps were in use across three zones in 2015.
These numbers are averages, so there could be more or less in each zone on one given day, obviously a number of traps will be getting transported each day and so not in use and many will need replacing due to anti cull activists destroying them, so Dorset for example may have 200 traps a day to begin with and less as culling went on.
We know from intelligence that cull companies in the roll out zones have put a lot of resources and time into training farmers to do the cage trap culling, one area is aiming at 70% of killing to be with traps another is aiming for 80%
Something we need to be very aware of is that in Dorset last year more than half of the badgers trapped and killed happened in the first week, the figures are on this link.
For the cull companies to replicate what they did in Dorset last year is now very difficult due to them not having a thousand extra traps, even if they did have one thousand extra traps, it’s still roughly only 150 in each zone.
If we get out into the fields this week and start looking for them and neutralising them, it is very possible that we could stop them reaching their targets, we must also when culling starts put maximum effort in roll out areas into working during the day, especially if an area still needs sett surveying.
By thinking AND acting strategically in the roll out areas, we really can make a big difference this year. If you need help to find your local group or area contact: http://badgeractionnetwork.org.uk/
If you find traps but aren’t able to deal with them yourself, please contact someone as soon as possible from a local group.
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