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Join the wildlife sett; SCOTTISH BADGER WEEK; They're among our best known and most loved wild creatures, but Scotland's badgers are facing an array of threats from humankind. Now a great new partnership is helping to protect them and wants you to get involved.

Byline: FIONA RUSSELL

What is it? The first event of its kind, and a new partnership between Scottish Badgers and Scottish Wildlife Trust. It takes place from May 20 to 28 with the aim of encouraging people to get involved in protecting badgers. Tell me more: As Scotland's largest surviving carnivore, badgers are an intrinsic part of our county's biodiversity and landscape. But they are under threat from persecution, habitat loss and road deaths.

Badger week calls on people to get involved in conserving and protecting them in a number of ways. One of the organisers said: "We would like as many people of all ages as possible to be part of our campaign.

"In the first place, they might like to come along to a Scottish Badger Week event. They can also join badger groups and volunteer for projects.

"Another way to help is by reporting any badger setts they spot or any dead badgers, such as on roadsides."

Anything else to know? Scottish Badgers and the Scottish Wildlife Trust are holding a drop-in session at Falls of Clyde Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve near Lanark.

You can discover how to help protect badgers on Saturday May 20 from noon to 2pm. The reserve also hosts regular badger watches, including badger safaris in luxury 4x4s.

Find out more: Learn about the events and volunteering opportunities at scottishbadgers.org.uk and scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk The volunteers: Ann Innes is one a growing number of volunteers for Scottish Badgers.

She said: "It's allowed me to learn so much about badgers and Scottish wildlife.

"It's developed skills I never knew I had. I really feel I'm making a difference, to protect and raise awareness of these wonderful animals.

"I now edit the newsletter and help out at various events as well as getting out and about surveying setts and monitoring them. I've made some really great friendships. I can't recommend it too highly." 12 facts about badgers

1. The Gaelic word for badger is Brochlach, which is linked to their traditional name, brock.

2. There are an estimated 34,000 badgers in Scotland - 10 per cent of the UK badger population.

3. Badgers can run at up to 19mph over short distances.

4. Male badgers are called boars and females are sows. The young are cubs.

5. The badger is Scotland's largest surviving native carnivore, and the largest native land mammal after deer.

6. They're distant relatives of otters, stoats and pine martens.

7. Badgers are ideally suited to life underground. They have low, long bodies, spade-like front paws and a great sense of smell.

8. They live in social groups called clans, where family members are joined by incomers from neighbouring territories.

9. Badgers live in all sorts of places - from woodland to moorland, sand dunes to sea cliffs and mountainous areas to urban embankments.

10. They're omnivores but they mainly eat earthworms. They need about 200 per night to keep a healthy weight.

11. Badgers and their setts are protected by law.

12. But they are under threat from development, loss of habitat, unlicensed farming and forestry operations, badger baiting and road deaths.

GEAR OF THE WEEK

Join me on my adventures in Scotland's great outdoors by checking out my award- winning website at www.fionaoutdoors.co.uk. You'll find lots of great information about walking, cycling, running and other outdoor activities, as well as kit reviews.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 14, 2017
Words:581
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