At the end of May during the hot spell a call came in from a lady who had had a badger cub in her garden for several days.
Used to having badgers coming and going from her garden, the householder knew something was wrong. Due to the weather we were concerned that it may by now be very dehydrated. It was lying in the sun in broad daylight and hadn’t moved much for the last couple of days.
When I arrived it was curled up, having had a little water and food, only feet from the family, yet showing no inclination to take cover. I picked it up in a blanket  and put it in our cage with some water and a blanket for shade and took it straight to a vet for examination.
The vet felt that whilst she was dehydrated, she only needed nursing care to recover before we attempted a release. I had more space and more experience handling badgers than the veterinary staff so I called my long suffering husband and asked him to ready the badger bedroom!
After a couple of days, lots of food and water, two members of the group (including myself) took her back to the garden to attempt the release. The badger was clearly more nervous of me, ‘huffing’ when I fed her and appeared to be ready to go home.
Releasing cubs is more difficult than adults, often releases are not attempted. It may be that they are lost, having become separated from their mother, or may have come from a subordinate sow and therefore not yet be part of the main clan. If this is the case, they will not be accepted if they cannot be reunited with their mother.
Our first attempt at release was a cautious one, we kept her in the cage within the garden for a little while as we expected a visit from the local badger clan. Only one cub appeared briefly but only half approached the cage. Our cub showed no interest at all.
An animal in its home territory should quickly pick up a scent or recognise its surroundings and be keen to head off in the right direction. When we did open the cage she remained close to it and in fact followed me, showing signs of confusion and aggression. She was clearly not at ease in the environment.
Sadly despite two attempts at release, one in the garden and one closer to a nearby sett, this little cub showed no recognition of or interest in the area and remained in or close to the cage where she felt secure. We felt that it was not safe to release her into potentially the wrong territory and we were unable to quickly and confidently reunite her with her mother or her clan, so the following weekend we took her to Secret World in Somerset, to be put with other cubs to form a new badger clan.
We were taken to a room with two other cubs and put her in. She was very nervous and hid in the far corner behind the up-turned dog bed. Within only a few seconds the other cubs were beside her, happy to see another stripy face .
She will be released with her new family in the Autumn.
 Handling wild badgers takes training, experience and equipment. If you see a badger in distress please contact either the RSPCA, your local wildlife rescue centre or badger group.