As the spring peak in badger road casualties and orphaned cubs approaches, signs can alert drivers to ‘Give Badgers a Brake’.
Badger Trust welcomes the recent announcement by the Transport Minister, Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, that makes it much easier for local councils to put up wildlife warning signs (1). Harper stated that the rules around the small wildlife warning signs would be relaxed to make it easier for local authorities to put up small wildlife warning signs, helping to better protect mammals such as badgers and hedgehogs. Badger Trust has been campaigning for this change alongside the AA and Chris Packham for a number of years.
Harper stated in the announcement:
“These common-sense changes will lead to more small animal signs across the country, cutting down on bureaucracy to help protect both drivers and small animals, improving safety on our roads and making sure fewer casualties are checked into wildlife hospitals.”
Badger Trust Executive Director Peter Hambly responded:
“We welcome this change and urge wildlife supporters, including local badger groups, to contact their local councils and campaign to get warning signs in accident hotspots where so many badgers are killed.
However, this is just a start, and we desperately need more road-calming measures in these hotspot areas. Badgers are the number one mammal killed on the roads every year, and local populations can be devastated by these deaths. We urge people to slow down and stay alert and give badgers a brake.”
Speeding cars and a lack of traffic-calming measures in accident hotspots mean spring can be a dangerous time for badgers and other wild animals. Badger sows can roam further from the sett for food after giving birth in late winter, increasing their risk of death from road traffic collisions. Newborn badger cubs remain in the sett, feeding on milk for the first three months of life. So, if a mother is killed or injured on the road, her orphaned cubs will not survive without outside help.
“Badgers are following paths they have followed for hundreds of years. Roads built across these ancient paths lead to so many tragic accidents. Local badger groups are called out to many distressing incidents of injured or dying badgers. More warning signs and other traffic-calming measures to alert drivers to slow down would help reduce accidents and the especially high death toll of badgers on the roads.
Thousands of badger cubs are orphaned because of badger deaths each year. We need to make the roads safer for everyone. Please report any badger casualties on the road to Badger Trust as quickly as possible, and along with the network of affiliated local badger groups, we might be able to help the cubs.”