Urgent appeal to help care for badger cubs as Shropshire rescue centre is full to capacity

A wildlife rescue centre in Shropshire has launched an urgent appeal for funds to help it care for the increasing number of orphaned badger cubs in its care.

A badger cub at Cuan Wildlife Rescue
A badger cub at Cuan Wildlife Rescue

Cuan Wildlife Rescue, based in Much Wenlock, is already caring for 24 cubs and needs extra facilities to ensure they can be released in the autumn after a sharp increase in the number of badgers taken to the centre.

The rise in the number of cubs has been put down both to more of them being found as people spend extra time outside during the pandemic and to Cuan's reputation for rehabilitating badgers.

Both of the animal hospital's outdoor enclosures are already full and the centre is now fundraising for a third, which will cost up to £10,000. So far £3,000 has been raised.

Approximately a quarter the size of a football pitch, the enclosure will help the cubs to get used to life in the wild in a controlled outdoor environment. The large enclosure will be fully secured and include an underground chamber and tunnel to mimic a badger’s natural home.

The area also needs to include features such as shelter, logs, and soil, where the cubs can learn the skills to survive including digging for food and burrowing.

A badger cub at Cuan Wildlife Rescue

Deb Bolger, community fundraiser, said: "This year we’ve admitted more badger cubs than ever before.

“To rehabilitate the cubs, we urgently need to build a new enclosure. We can only do this with the generosity of those who donate and every penny received is a step towards the release of the cubs back into the wild where they belong.”

The badger cubs have been rescued following the deaths of their mothers, mainly caused by car crashes as well as injury and illness. The abandoned cubs have been found in Shropshire and throughout Britain.

When admitted to Cuan Wildlife Rescue, cubs which are still weaning require round-the-clock care including bottle feeding every 2.5 hours, up to the age of around 12 weeks old. At that stage, the cubs are placed into increasingly larger pens before release into the large enclosures at around four months old.

A badger cub at Cuan Wildlife Rescue

In the large enclosure, human contact is minimised and a strict feeding regime is introduced, including starve days to simulate conditions in the wild.

In autumn, when the cubs have been fully rehabilitated, they are taken to a soft release site where they are released back into the wild after a short period of adaptation.

As part of their rehabilitation, every badger admitted to Cuan Wildlife Rescue is tested for bovine tuberculosis. If the badger is free of the disease, it is then vaccinated, meaning that Cuan Wildlife Rescue will only release clean badgers. Badgers that have contracted bovine TB, as well as those that have spent time in close proximity to infected badgers, have to be put to sleep.

To donate, visit Cuan Wildlife Rescue on Facebook or cuanwildliferescue.org.uk

Donations can also be made by bank transfer or cheque, by emailing fundraisingcwr@gmail.com or calling 01952728070.

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