Badgers offered peanut butter to help save WWI Centenary Wood

Badgers are being tempted towards the gate with the help of peanut butter. Picture: Getty
Badgers are being tempted towards the gate with the help of peanut butter. Picture: Getty
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BADGERS are being persuaded to use special gates in a newly planted native woodland – by peanut butter.

Conservation charity The Woodland Trust Scotland came up with the nutty plan to prevent the creatures from digging under a fence surrounding the new First World War Centenary Wood at Dreghorn.

We need to maintain the fence to stop animals such as hares and rabbits damaging young trees, and the gates stop badgers from undermining it.

Russell Jobson

Badgers are creatures of habit and tend to follow established trails, but they can be “coaxed” to use new routes with their favourite treat made from dry roasted peanuts.

A generous helping of peanut butter has been smeared on the bottom of the gates to guide the badgers into using them instead of digging under and undermining the fence.

Site manager Russell Jobson said: “The gates we’ve installed are specially designed for badgers to push through instead of digging under the fence wire.

“They are quite stubborn creatures and can take a while to adjust, but a smear of peanut butter helps coax them into using the gate.

“Ultimately the Centenary Wood will benefit a wide range of wildlife including badgers, barn owls and bats.

“We need to maintain the fence to stop animals such as hares and rabbits damaging young trees, and the gates stop badgers from undermining it.”

The Woodland Trust Scotland – part of the UK’s largest charity championing native woods and trees – is working in partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to create Scotland’s First World War Centenary Wood at Dreghorn and Castlelaw Ranges.

It comes after an Evening News campaign to save the Capital’s First World War trenches on the training estate proved successful.

More than 50,000 native trees will be planted over 100 acres, connecting existing woodland and providing new habitat for wildlife.

Major Kim Torp-Petersen, DIO’s Executive Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland said: “DIO’s role is to maximise the potential of the defence estate to support the armed forces.

“We also have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that the military training estate is protected.

“DIO has enjoyed working closely with the Woodland Trust Scotland to create the Centenary Wood.

“To see these first images of the badgers in the newly planted areas is a testament to that working relationship as it underpins MoD’s approach to biodiversity and nature conservation of the MoD estate.”

Support flooded in for our campaign to stop the Capital’s historic trenches from being lost forever.

The drive to save them was led by writer and historian Lynne Gladstone Millar, whose father William Ewart Gladstone Millar was trained in the trenches before he was sent to the Battle of the Somme.

newsen@edinburghnews.com