Communities and organisations came together this week at Chatelherault Country Park near Hamilton to launch a three-year project aimed at tackling the growing problem of badger persecution in the area.
‘Badgers in the Landscape’ - headed by the charity Scottish Badgers and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Natural Heritage - aims to inspire, educate and empower local communities to address wildlife crime happening on their doorstep.
Eddie Palmer, chairman of Scottish Badgers, said:
“The badger has a long association with the area, evidenced by its use as the emblem of the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve. The many green spaces weaving through South Lanarkshire’s urban areas mean that badgers and humans often live side by side. For many this is seen in a positive light, allowing a glimpse into the life of this elusive nocturnal mammal. Sadly, in these same areas we are also seeing an increase in illegal activities such as badger baiting, lamping and indiscriminate use of snares.”
The charity believes that one of the best ways to tackle the issue is to engage local communities in protecting their local wildlife. Over the next three years the charity will offer various training opportunities including badger survey skills and wildlife crime awareness, along with flexible volunteering opportunities in sett surveying and monitoring to build up experience and confidence. The project will also work with local schools and youth groups to inspire the next generation on the wonders of wildlife on their doorstep, plus raise awareness amongst local groups and organisations that undertake practical work in habitats likely to support badgers.
Commenting on the launch of the project, Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said:
“It is great to see individuals, groups and organisations working together like this to tackle the issue of wildlife crime in our area. Giving people the skills and confidence to tackle local issues that matter to them is vital in bringing positive, lasting change for our area and it’s wildlife.The Scottish Government has made great strides over the past few years regarding clamping down on wildlife crime - but we know we can do more. That is why I have immediately sought a Members Debate to discuss this incredibly important issue, once The Scottish Parliament has reconvened.”
Dr. Lisa Cameron, MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, said:
“I am delighted to attend the launch this project addressing ongoing issues of wildlife crime in the area. Abhorrent practices such as badger baiting often have devastating consequences for both badgers and the dogs used to fight with them. There is no place for such cruelty in today’s society and I fully support this project’s aim to bring an end to wildlife crime and to encourage appreciation of our local biodiversity.”
The project has gained the support of various local and national organisations that will assist in the delivery of the project. This includes South Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership.
The project even has it’s own YouTube channel where it will share the antics of South Lanarkshire’s badgers – the #SouthLanClan - from wildlife camera footage collected by volunteers, schools and youth groups.
Notes to editors
About Scottish Badgers
The charity was formed in 1999 by the amalgamation of various badger groups in Scotland, brought together by invitation of the Scottish Government, keen to see a concerted effort in badger conservation. It exists to educate the public, offer training to both its own members, and other organisations, and work for adequate law enforcement. Advice and guidance is given to statutory organisations, private companies, the Police, and ecologists.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. www.hlf.org.uk Follow us on facebook: HLFScotland and twitter: @HLFScotland