Badgers are rarely seen in the wild. The shy animals usually successfully avoid people, prefer to be out and about at night and sleep in well-hidden burrows when it is too turbulent outside for them. The normal forest walker, who does get to see deer, wild boar, foxes or rabbits, tends to forget that they even exist. An estimated 500,000 badgers live in Germany and around 400,000 in Great Britain. And people also like to forget what pretty animals they are.
No wonder two special foundlings are taking people's hearts by storm in Britain: In February, a woman in Norfolk was walking her dog when she noticed a very young badger by the side of the road. The temperatures were frosty and the little animal looked like it was "frozen," according to the finder. But then she saw the little badger move its paw ever so slightly - it was still alive. And so the dog owner packed the little furry friend and warmed it under her jacket while she made her way to the next sanctuary. There she gave the baby badger into care.
Dan Bradshaw, a sanctuary worker, examined the little badger and found it to be a girl. It was given the name Bertha. And it wasn't in good condition: Bertha "wouldn't have survived much longer," he judged. The dog owner saved her life. But why had the cub been lying all alone in the forest? Animal welfare experts suspect that something might have happened to Bertha's mother, leaving her offspring to fend for themselves. Or it could have been a young, inexperienced mother who could not take care of the little badger girl. People took over in their place.
For several weeks, around the clock, Bertha was given the bottle until she weighed a good kilo. No comparison to the frozen little handful of badgers that were once handed over to the sanctuary! Photos that the animal protection association shared on Twitter, among other things, caused great enthusiasm: the little badger was also just adorable. However, he was something else: lonely. Badger babies do not usually grow up alone, but with other siblings.
But the animal rights activists were able to remedy the situation: A few weeks after Bertha was admitted, another small badger was taken into care in a sanctuary a little further away - a little younger than his new "big sister". Bertha's keepers immediately contacted his colleagues and suggested adopting the conspecific so that the two young animals could grow up together. The second badger boy was named Bartholomew and has been keeping Bertha company ever since. "Our badger girl now has an adoptive brother," says the head of the center Evangelos Achilleos. The two cuddle, play together and compete for the bottle. The small age difference does not detract from the friendship between the two.
"They are both very young and delicate, I hope they grow big and strong quickly, but it's too early to say they're over the hill," said Achilleos. "But they always speak up loudly and eat very well." The keepers are currently using a lot of special milk powder to prepare the two bottles. In the wild, badgers stay with their mothers for a long time, so the animal rights activists will have to look after the two little ones for several more months. But Bertha and Bartholomew are sure to agree with that.
Sources: Twitter, "Metro"