The University of Glasgow Zoological Society and Glasgow University SeaSoc hosted an event on 20 January in the Boyd Orr building with Scottish Badgers, an organisation that aims to promote the study, conservation and protection of Scotland’s badger population and their habitats.
Scottish Badgers came with a host of props and knowledge about Scotland’s badgers, which are the UK’s largest carnivore; living in complex underground structures called "setts" within tightly controlled territories.
The role of Scottish Badgers, a charity that was set up with encouragement from the Scottish government in 1999, is largely to survey and record the presence of badgers, provide expert advice on all things badger, and assist with research into badger biology, ecology and behaviour.
A fundamental role of Scottish Badgers is to prevent crime and persecution against badgers whilst increasing public awareness of badgers and the threats they face.
When asked why it is important to invite Scottish Badgers to the university, and to learn about badgers, the Zoological society stated that they believe it is important to show students what they can be doing alongside their degrees. Amelia Revill Hayward, the vice president of the Zoological Society said that “the aim of this event is to show students the variety of volunteering opportunities that are available.”
Whilst badgers are currently protected in the UK under the Protection of Badgers Act (1992), which states that badgers cannot be killed or willingly harmed, crimes against badgers and on the rise and they are widespread. People continue to commit illegal acts such from badger baiting and sett gassing - an act that involves placing cyanide crystals at sett entrances - to careless development, forestry or agriculture operations. Scottish Badgers are the only charity dedicated to the protection and conservation of badgers in Scotland.
Scottish Badgers have stated that any evidence of badger crime should be reported to police via 101, or via 999 if the incident is ongoing and there is a threat to health or property. If the incident involves an injured or suffering animal the SSPCA should be contacted on 03000 999 999.
Scottish badgers stressed that wildlife criminals, especially those who are involved in badger baiting can be extremely dangerous, therefore you should never approach suspects or intervene as this may put you in danger.
On the topic of hosting a collaborative event with the Zoological Society, the president of SeaSoc, Shion Reynell, said that events such as the Badger Party allows societies with a shared field of interest to reach a broader group of people who can come together outside of a formal university setting and get to know each other.
Scottish Badger’s are regularly seeking new volunteers and this can be a great addition to university to those who are studying in the field of zoology and ecology, as well as students of other disciplines who would like to broaden their horizons.
The Zoological Society and SeaSoc both host a wide variety of events and socials to find out more, to see what each society has coming up soon, please visit their respective Facebook pages.
To find out more about Scottish Badgers and how to get involved, visit their website.