One morning last month, some shady characters were observed by a member of public entering a wood complete with spades, terriers and guns. Initially the person who called this in thought the intention had been badger baiting.
Within a day we had heard about this and having found other setts persecuted in the area we went to go and check it out. As well as an irrevocably damaged badger sett we also found the brutalized body of a lactating vixen. Worried there could be orphan cubs we used the trailcams, bought with money our supporters have donated previously, to see if we could find any trace of life.
We put up a camera up, not really expecting to find anything left alive as we knew terriers had been used, but thankfully within three days of moving the cam around we finally got footage of a single cub on the camera so the decision was made (after speaking with fox rescue experts at Secret World) to try to capture the cub as its chances of survival were almost zero as a lone cub.
Plan A – We set up a small trap. Thankfully the cub didn’t fancy going in as the next night on one single clip out of many on the trailcam, a second cub appeared alongside the first but only for a moment or two! Amazed that two cubs had managed to escape the terriers and the guns we went to a Plan B, removed the small trap and began support feeding the cubs while we worked out if there was any other adult foxes in the area that might still be visiting. Foxes can have quite strong familial and social bonds and it is often the case that the dog fox will help feed their cubs, or even the previous years cubs may have stuck around. Sadly after a few days of support feeding and camera’s placed at various locations in the wood, we never saw another adult fox so we set up Plan C, to trap both cubs together.
A larger trap was borrowed and after several nights of patiently waiting and watching the two cubs tentatively entered the trap and once at the far end the signal was given to release the door…which unfortunately was not a tight fit and one little cub managed to scramble free and escape back down into the earth!
So one little cub went off to safety and Plan D was put into action, a more secure trap was borrowed and a very dedicated group of sabs and local people set about a 24hr watch and two nights later, with two of us camped out, the remaining cub eventually plucked up courage to enter the trap at 3.45 am and via a friend, was immediately whisked away to Secret World and just in time too – as two days of heavy rain set in.
Both cubs were reunited at Secret World where they will stay together until they are returned to the wild later this year.
Thank you to advice from Secret World, Somerset Badger Group, The Fox man and to everyone that took part in rescuing the orphaned cubs, local members of the public included.
If you would like to donate towards keeping our current trail-cams in batteries (we used loads!) or help towards the purchase of more sophisticated cameras over the summer as we monitor various sites then there are various ways of doing so. Via our paypal account, or by buying us a kofi or by supporting our forthcoming auction either through donations or bids.
We last heard the two little orphans were in a group of four and were doing well despite their ordeal at the hands of a group of truly cruel individuals.