Last week both Radio 5 Live, and the Daily Mail carried the story of a Wiltshire badger who 'burgled' the home of a pensioner at 1 o'clock in the morning, and is now 'in custody'.
Now one could be extremely cynical, and comment that having telephoned 999, the pensioner was somewhat more than lucky to get the attention of the police within minutes, to sort out her intruder. But that is another blog, another day.
She was watching television in her Swindon semi, when sounds of footsteps, overturned furniture and scuffles from the first floor led her to dial 999. Two police officers arrived and went straight upstairs, truncheons drawn to apprehend the intruder - and met a badger.
Not equipped with a jemmy to prise open the door, it had apparently gained access through the cat flap, trundled upstairs and attempted to create a nest in the airing cupboard before exploring the pensioner's bedroom. Everything in the airing cupboard had been turned upside down, and the furniture in the bedroom upended as the badger bumbled around, finally attempting escape by hurling itself at the bedroom window, which it broke.
The police officers were at a loss as to what to do with the animal, so called in the 'expertise' from the local animal 'sanctuary'. The badger was captured and is now safely behind bars before being 'released back into the wild'. (Your place or mine?)
Nice story? Many more questions than answers I think.
Radio 5's observations were that the badger was a large adult, with many scars and wounds on his back and sides from fighting and had 'probably been excluded from its social group'. When questioned as to his 'treatment', the reply was that the badger would be 'returned to the wild, when he was recovered enough to defend himself'. The Daily Mail's picture of the animal in the capture cage showed an adult with scars beneath his eye and behind his ears. But more worrying was the 'hedgehog' appearance of his face. Fat, glossy and bushy tailed with a glint in his eye, he was not. His eyes were sunken, and his face narrow and hollow.
To have arrived in a surburban semi in the middle of the night indicates a badger population density which had excluded this animal from its 'natural' habitat. And what is its fate? To be 'mended' and returned to 'the wild', which means fighting his corner - and losing - all over gain.
Where is this vague place - 'the wild'?
Anywhere within 30 miles of the house in which he sort shelter? And straight into a resident established population - of badgers.
This area of Wiltshire is part of a Krebs triplet. bTb is endemic in the badger population.
Has the householder been warned? Has she re laundered all her clothes from that 'upturned airing cupboard' , and her carpets and bedding in the appropriate bio secure way to neutralise any m.bovis from a thoroughly stressed out scarred, thin, disorientated badger?
And has she nailed up that cat flap?