Monday, 6 February 2017
Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham
Subtitled 'The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal' and beautifully illustrated by Jake Blanchard, this is an interesting look at this relatively common but very elusive mammal.
Barkham looks at various aspects of the badgers lifestyle and how it has been treated by humans through the ages, from being hunted and baited to being revered on one hand for their looks and personality and a figure of hatred on the other, for their suspected role in spreading bovine TB. Badgers have given their name to various places in the UK and have their place as characters in fiction from Wind in the Willows to Rupert Bear, yet most people never see them!
Badgers are very intelligent - I love the detail in an early chapter that a badger has been observed lining its sett with a waterproof sheet before making its nest!
Barkham visits people with different opinions to badgers, from animal rescue workers (including Brian May, former guitarist with Queen who has his own badger rescue centre), scientists researching badger ecology, people who feed the badgers in their gardens and people on both sides of the badger cull debate. He investigates the efficacy of the badger cull in reducing bovine TB in cattle and after a very even handed discussion he comes to his conclusion.
Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham published (2013) by Granta Books