Work to begin soon on badger sett survey

DAERA has announced a survey of badger setts in two areas of Northern Ireland
DAERA has announced a survey of badger setts in two areas of Northern Ireland

A survey of badger setts is to be carried out in two areas hardest hit by Bovine TB, it has been announced.

Work on the surveys around Aghadowey, Co Londonderry and Omagh, areas which have a high density of cattle herds with bTB reactors, is due to commence later this month and will continue throughout the spring.

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Chief Veterinary Officer, Robert Huey, said the information gathered will be used to help inform potential future wildlife intervention policies with the aim of strengthening DAERA’s bTB eradication programme.

DAERA staff will survey land within each selected area to locate and map badger setts using GPS devices. There will be no interference with the badger populations during these surveys.

The department plans to write to herd keepers or landowners in each area to ask them to participate in the surveys.

Mr Huey added: “The badger sett surveys are an important step in terms of gathering evidence to inform future wildlife intervention policies and I would encourage those contacted to allow staff access to land to enable this work to progress.”

The department is currently consulting on a package of TB proposals, which includes recommendations for wildlife intervention policies.

Consultation closes on February 1 and Mr Huey is urging all those with an interest in bTB eradication to respond.