Rescued: Five helpless badger cubs recuperating at Shropshire centre

Five adorable badger cubs are being cared for at a Shropshire animal centre having been rescued from perilous situations.

Valentine, second from right, with his four adoptive siblings: Rose, Cupid, Romeo and Casanova
Valentine, second from right, with his four adoptive siblings: Rose, Cupid, Romeo and Casanova

The dozy cubs come from two litters, one of them found all alone under a shed following the sad death of his two siblings and his mother nowhere to be found – the male, discovered in Derbyshire on February 14, is now known as Valentine.

He is thought to be the smallest cub ever cared for at Cuan Wildlife Rescue, near Much Wenlock.

Valentine's four new adoptive siblings Rose, Cupid, Romeo and Casanova had to be rescued from a flood zone after their mother fled rising water.

The four baby badgers are now being cared for by their (human) foster mother Hayley Robinson at Cuan Wildlife Rescue.

The centre's manager Fran Hill explained the story of how the cubs came to the centre: "On Valentine’s Day [residents]Christine and Mike thought they had got rats under their shed but following closer inspection they were surprised to see that their visitors were in fact badgers, a female badger and her three noticeably young cubs.

"Christine kindly decided to give them a helping hand and left them some straw for bedding and food for the mother.

Valentine the badger cub

"As the morning drew into late afternoon Christine and Mike were becoming increasingly anxious about the badgers and called the local badger group to express their worries. After further inspection, sadly they discovered a dead badger cub and the mother and cubs had retreated further underneath the shed. A decision was made to leave the badger and cubs in peace but closely monitor the situation.

"The following day one of the badger cubs was particularly vocal, the mother was nowhere to be seen and another dead cub was found.

"The badger group decided it was time, without delay, to rescue the surviving badger cub.

Hungry

"The cub was very cold and hungry and immediately transferred to an incubator. The next day the cub was brought into Cuan Wildlife Rescue and introduced to his new foster mom Hayley, senior wildlife care assistant.

"The tiny badger came into our hospital weighing a mere 187g but following a few days of TLC and good quality formula his weight increased to 210g.

"We believe that the badger parent could have possibly been a new inexperienced mom, hence the sad outcome for her and her cubs. Luckily, Valentine is a tough little guy and already has had a taste of survival."

Valentine the badger cub

Valentine was soon joined by some new cubs.

"Just five days after admitting Valentine into Cuan Wildlife Rescue, we admit not just one, two, or even three badger cubs but four little fighters, three males and one female – now known as Rose, Cupid, Romeo and Casanova.

"On Sunday evening, February 21, one of our volunteer rescue drivers received a call from a very concerned resident who happens to live in a well-known flood zone. He explained that his and his wife’s dog had alerted them to the plight of nearby badgers.

"Unfortunately, the badgers who live in the area do not seem to notice the effects of climate change and continue to live and breed in an area that they have for centuries. In this case the badger mom had not anticipated the sudden rise in the water table and disappeared to higher ground, leaving four helpless young cubs that could not have been more than a few weeks old – blind, deaf, and almost hairless.

Decision

"In her defence it could be that she was already in the process of moving one of the cubs to safety.

"Time was running out for the parent to save her remaining four cubs and after the sight of part of the sett collapsing, water levels rising and continuous rain a decision was made to rescue the cubs before they drowned in the nursery chamber of the sett.

"The cubs were taken from their chamber and quickly placed into a cat basket with a hot water bottle and blankets, and were strategically placed on higher ground in a sheltered area.

"The plan, following advice from Cuan Wildlife Rescue, was to leave the badger cubs and hopefully the parent would return for them and move them one by one to safety. The residents retreated from the area to their nearby homes and would return early the next morning, praying that the plan had worked.

"Early the next morning, following a sleepless night, the residents hurried back to the area.

"The sett was now completely under water and there on higher ground were the tiny badger cubs – sadly, the mother had not returned during the night.

"Thankfully, they were still very much alive and vocal, as they were exceedingly hungry. Cuan Wildlife were contacted, and the volunteer rescue driver made the 80-mile round trip to transport the cubs back to the hospital as soon as possible.

The five badgers are now being cared for by Cuan volunteer Hayley

"The lucky cubs arrived at the hospital and were introduced to their new foster mom Hayley and their new step-sibling Valentine. They were immediately fed and placed into a cosy and warm incubator until their next feed two hours later.

"These cubs were exceedingly lucky to be discovered by a very well-tuned dog and rescued by people who genuinely care for the UK’s wildlife.

"In less than seven days, five incredibly lucky badger cubs have been admitted into the care of Cuan Wildlife Rescue under particularly dramatic circumstances.

"An extremely sad story for two badger mothers, who due to unforeseen circumstances, have become separated from their offspring."

The hardworking team of volunteers at Cuan Wildlife Rescue has carried on as usual throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

To learn more or find details of how to donate, visit cuanwildliferescue.org.uk.

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