A consultant inspected the site and it was confirmed that at least one of the holes identified had the potential to be a badger sett. The sett looked like it had recently been dug, as fresh spoil was recorded outside the entrance.
As the sett was only small (potentially only one hole) the likelihood was that it was an outlier sett and not a main breeding sett. Following an initial consultation with Natural England, we proposed using night cameras with heat sensitive triggers to monitor the sett for a period of 21 days to see how often the sett was being used. We used two cameras to monitor both this hole and an adjacent hole that had some limited potential.
Read the accompanying blog entry about badger sett monitoring.
Our survey showed that the hole was regularly being used by foxes and rats. On day three, the camera recorded a badger entering the hole for a three hour period, after which only foxes were recorded using the hole.
Natural England agreed that, if the hole was not used for a period of 21 days, then the sett could be closed. Cameras were left on the sett and subsequently re-checked. Throughout the project, additional species recorded with the cameras included fox, muntjac deer, rats, tawny owl, ferret-polecat and rabbit.
As our cameras showed that the sett was not used by badgers for a period of 24 days, it was closed using steel one-way badger gates. To comply with best practice, these one-way gates were placed on all sett entrances and left for a period of 21 days. Cameras were placed to assess the sett during the closure and ensure that no animals breached the gates.
The camera was left on site during the blocking of the sett so that any specific activity could be monitored. Leaving the camera on site ensured that no badgers were still inside the sett after the gates were put in place and, ultimately, the camera recorded no images of badgers attempting to access the sett.
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