The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) has begun a five-year plan to vaccinate the many badgers on one of their nature reserves thanks to significant funding from the Welsh Government and support from players of People's Postcode Lottery. To date, our players have awarded the Wildlife Trusts Wales (WTW) with over £230,000.
The woodlands at the Castle Woods nature reserve at Dinefwr Park in Llandeilo are home to a large number of badger setts. Rare breed cattle also graze on the adjacent pasture land, including the fertile Tywi valley. WTSWW is firmly opposed to the culling of badgers and will not allow culling on its land.
WTSWW has campaigned for many years against the badger cull and lobbied for vaccination to be used as an alternative way to combat bovine TB. The five-year vaccination project in the Intensive Action Area (IAA) in West Wales is part of the Welsh Government's wider programme of work to eradicate TB from cattle in Wales.
Welsh Government reports show that over 1,350 badgers were successfully vaccinated in the IAA in 2013 as part of this project. In 2013, it was also announced that a grant fund would be made available to support other landowners outside the IAA to undertake vaccination programmes.
Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, said, "Eradicating bovine TB requires a long-term approach that includes a number of different measures and relies upon the support and co-operation of Welsh farmers and landowners. Badgers are a source of TB infection and are involved in the maintenance of the disease. We established the Badger Vaccination Grant to give farmers, landowners and other organisations in Wales the opportunity to vaccinate badgers. Repeated vaccination should increase the level of immunity to TB in the badger population and should reduce the potential for onward spread of the infection to cattle and other badgers.
"I am pleased that The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales was successful in its application for funding from the Badger Vaccination Grant. It is the first Wildlife Trust in Wales to commit to vaccinating badgers on its land and I would encourage others will follow their lead.”
The programme has been further assisted by players of People's Postcode Lottery who support numerous charities across Britain and beyond, including WTW. This support allows the six Wildlife Trusts across Wales, including WTSWW, to continue their vital conservation work to protect nature for the future.
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said, "I am delighted that players of People's Postcode Lottery are raising money for wildlife conservation in Wales and that they are able to support this very important project."
WTSWW will be working in partnership with EcoCon, a badger vaccination specialist, to deliver this work. EcoCon offer nationwide contract badger vaccination services to the agricultural and environmental sectors.