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How to stop badger being run out of town

15 Mar 2005 - The Glasgow Herald

VICKY COLLINS, Environment Correspondent

THEY are reclusive neighbours at the best of times but now the urban badger is in danger of disappearing from our cities completely. Badgers have been living quietly in the parks and woodlands in built-up areas for generations – far longer than more recent incomers such as foxes, squirrels, and deer. However, with new roads cutting across the trails to their feeding areas and new housing burying their sets, experts say their existence is threatened. An increasing number are also being killed by cars and badger baiting and digging.

Now Glasgow City Council has agreed a plan to help protect them and encourage an increase in numbers living in the city. The council aims to establish how many badgers live in the city and the location of sets and feeding grounds, which can then be protected from any proposed developments. A survey in Inverness last year found 191 sets, 33 of which were on land earmarked for housing developments. Glasgow City Council also wants to create badger fencing and tunnels to help the animals negotiate roads safely, as well as providing more grassland for foraging in areas they are known to visit.

A working group will be established to co-ordinate the efforts of all conservation groups working in the city. A website and leaflets will help raise public awareness of the animals and their needs. Jim Coyle, the council's environmental policy and research manager, said: "They have always been in the city but the city is growing larger and the badgers are having to adapt to that. It is not a question of stopping developments, it is about how to integrate development to help protect badgers and other animals."

The authority is aware of at least five sets in the city, although it is not clear if all of them are occupied. The badger plan is part of wider efforts to promote and protect wildlife, plants, and birds living in Glasgow.

Margaret Sinclair, the council's environmental sustainability spokeswoman, said: "This plan is not just about protecting wildlife and green space, it's also good for the environment and enhances the lives of our citizens."

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