Make an appointment with a Northumbrian badger

04.05.2011

The Forestry Commission is offering nature lovers a rare chance to enjoy an audience with a badger.

Kielder Water and Forest Park is a haven for the beautiful creature, but spotting one can be tough as they are mostly active at night and spend long hours underground in their multi-chambered setts, or dens. Now rangers have come up with a perfect solution by staging twilight badger watches to a secret location in Wark Forest - part of
Kielder - on 6 and 14 May.

Richard Gilchrist, Chief Recreation Ranger, said:

“Seeing badgers and their cubs emerge from their dens is absolutely magical. Some setts can be hundreds of years old, consisting of a network of underground tunnels and chambers. Wildlife spotting doesn’t get much better than this.”

The event is part of Wild about Kielder season, celebrating the incredible plant and animal life found in 62,000 hectare (155,000 acre) Kielder Water & Forest Park. A mini-bus will ferry people into the forest and you’ll need to book to take part on 01434 250 209. The safari starts at 8pm and costs £10 per person and meets at the Warksburn picnic site near Stonehaugh, between Bellingham and Hexham. Wear warm clothing, sturdy footwear and waterproofs. Bring binoculars if you have them.

Badger Factfile:

• Badgers are omnivorous and can munch their way through several hundred earth worms in a single night.

• They are social creatures and live together in large underground setts, comprising interlocking tunnels with nest chambers, toilets and several entrances.

• Youngsters inherit these setts from their parents and expand and refine them.

• Badgers can live for up to 14 years, but they are likely to die or be killed before reaching this age. Road traffic kills around 50,000 each year.

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For more information go to www.forestry.gov.uk/NorthEastEngland.

Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.

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