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News > General News > Badger Sett Survey Training conducted on campus

Badger Sett Survey Training conducted on campus

Campbell's campus is ideal training ground

During the Easter Break, The Belfast Hills Partnership organised training to help those involved in envirnomental work to identify badger setts. Badgers are protected species as directed in the Wildlife Order (Northern Ireland) 1985 and sites must be surveyed before any work such as tree planting, construction, etc are done. Before our restoration took place last autumn, a survey of our setts was conducted and measures taken to avoid disturbance of their habtitat. This included removing some of the invasive laurel species with handtools and dragging the limbs away for chipping at a site distant from the setts.

Members from Belfast Hills Partnership, Woodland Trust NI and Ulster Wildlife attended training with Badger expert Karl Hamilton, Senior Ecologist at Blackstaff Ecology. After some initial training in the classroom, the group headed out to our wooded areas along the driveway and at Netherleigh Lake. The training was arranged as part of the One Millions Trees initiave engagment program supported by Belfast City Council and Mid and East Antrim Council.

Setts are frequently found under tree roots, which makes our campus an ideal spot for badger setts. Karl was able to point out both very active setts and some older setts in our grounds. Signs indicating activity included tracks leading out from the entrance of the sett, fresh mounds of earth, evidence of a latrine and leaves cleared away from the surroundings. Setts considered out of use nearby had leaf debris around their entrances and a spider's web over the opening. Badgers often move from setts due to poor conditions such as wetness or infestation. However after a time, they frequently return and take up residence in old setts. 

Our campus is a favourable habitat for badgers as their diet consists mostly of earthworms and grubs. In the winter, the diet switches to frutis and berries so our campus can support their habtiat needs well. The badger breeding season takes place between November and July so we expect their will be cubs soon on campus soon!

You can learn about badgers and their protection at  http://www.badgersni.org.uk/

Photos from the training are available in our photo gallery below. Remember you need to be logged in to the site to be able to see our photos.

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