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Weeks 4-5: Peanuts & Pickup Trucks

Posted: Monday 20th October 2014 by OliFoulds

peanuts for badger vaccinationsGot to be better than earthworms…, Oli Foulds

A good haul of successful vaccinations and many important lessons learnt made this a great week.

 

What I did:
• worked on the badger vaccinations in Buxton
• went on a vegetation survey
• assisted with a butterfly transect
• visited a preplanning site (potential site for a house to be built before a planning application has been made)
• attended a badger vaccination meeting

 

I’ve barely had time to write this entry as I’ve had so much fan mail to trawl through after I was on the news the other night. They say fame changes people and I’m starting to understand what they mean as this whirlwind of media attention forces me to stay indoors.

Actually, “whirlwind” may be an exaggeration and perhaps “fame” isn’t technically correct either. The fan mail part was also made up but I was genuinely on the news for a bit. Well my voice through a radio could be heard on the news for about six seconds. The footage showed Debbie the badger vaccinator receiving a call from me to tell her that we had a badger in a trap ready to be vaccinated. The news piece was about Derbyshire’s badger vaccination project that is up and running and off to a flying start. I’ve spent most of this two week period rushing around Buxton, stumbling through undergrowth up and down hills with an enthusiastic team of volunteers laying traps and distributing peanuts as bait. It’s been tiring but rewarding and I feel very lucky to have been involved in such an amazing project. Plus, now that I’ve been off-roading up and down hills in the back of a DWT pickup truck I can safely say that I’ve found my favourite method of transport.

Buxton is the second area targeted by the badger vaccinations and there will be more to follow. The vaccinations will be repeated each year so that after five years of vaccinating we should have achieved the required level of immunity in the badger social groups. Each round of vaccinations requires a few days spent getting the badgers used to the peanuts (and our smell – badgers have an incredible sense of smell) before they can be trapped and vaccinated. Annoyingly, badgers aren’t the only animals that will leap on a free meal of peanuts and so Debbie and co had to find cunning ways of preventing this from becoming an all-you-can-eat peanut party for squirrels. A good haul of successful vaccinations and many important lessons learnt made this a great week for the team and one that I will never forget. I can’t wait to get back in that truck with my bucket of peanuts for the next round!
 

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