A badger caught in a wolf trap will live to see another day thanks to the efforts of conservation officers in the Williams Lake area.
Sgt. Jeff Tyre said the healthy, female badger, which is listed as an endangered species in B.C., was an incidental catch in a legal trap being used for wolf mitigation work west of the city.
Officers responded to the call for help Monday when the badger was discovered, tranquilizing the animal to free it, and then placing it in a cool shaded spot to recover.
“We did a quick check and she seemed fine, no broken bones,” Tyre said. “She will be sore but she should be OK. Badgers are a very resilient animal.”
According to a B.C. ministry report entitled Wildlife at Risk in British Columbia, badgers are at risk due to fragmented and threatened habitat, low reproductive success and high mortality.
Badger habitat is limited primarily to the dry, southern Interior of the province. The key habitats for badgers – grasslands and open pine or fir forests along the major valleys – have been impacted by development of towns, rural subdivisions, ranches, orchards, golf courses and highways.
In the Okanagan area, many former badger habitats no longer support badgers, while in the East Kootenays badger habitat has been removed due to reservoir flooding.
A group called Badgers in B.C., comprised of representatives from federal and provincial governments, ranching and farming industries, research scientists, First Nations, and conservation organizations, was formed in 2001 dedicated to the conservation of badgers in the province.
The group developed an action plan to help the badger, including the creation of a website to learn more about the species, promote the reporting of badger sightings as well as publish recent work to help the badger.
As well as the Kootenays and Okanagan, the Cariboo also offers habitat for badgers.
Over the past several years numerous sightings of badgers and their burrows have been documented in the 100 Mile House Forest District of the Cariboo region. Motorists driving along Highway 97 will have seen signs asking motorists to watch for badgers crossing the road.
The Cariboo Badger Project was initiated in 2003 and has assisted in collecting extensive data to determine the distribution and number of badgers in the area.
Tyre said it was the first time he’s ever seen a live badger. He does see several badger fatalities every year due to traffic accidents, typically on Highway 97.
Tyre noted he is thankful to the trapper who reported the badger in the trap.
“We are grateful that they called it in and we were able to rescue the badger. She wouldn’t have lasted long in this heat,” Tyre said. “In this case the trapper did the right thing and we appreciate it.”