A badger’s story
A random encounter with a badger may have led for the first time in Israel to further discoveries about the mysterious ways of this species. Sadly, this story does not have a happy ending.
Guess what's strange about a badger walking about on a Friday afternoon by the Taninim River? Hint—it's not the day it’s the time of day. If you ever come across a badger in nature during daytime, be worried that it's in distress. One stormy Friday afternoon in January we received a message at Ramat Hanadiv of a badger sighted roaming about by the Taninim River, confused and apathetic. Since badgers are nocturnal animals, a daytime encounter with one immediately raises concerns. Our animal conservation staff immediately arrived at the scene, discovered an adolescent female badger in distress and captured her for treatment purposes. She was transferred to the wildlife hospital shared by the Safari in Ramat Gan and the Nature and Parks Authority, where she was diagnosed with a virus and hospitalized for care.
Though the badger is a common predators in Israel it is nocturnal and the likelihood of coming across one is slim. Encounters with badgers unfortunately happen when they are run over by cars. During the day they hide in branched underground tunnels which they themselves dig, thus basic information on the biology and ecology of the badger population in Israel is still lacking.
And what about our badger? Two weeks ago, after a month of hospital care, it was decided jointly with the Nature and Parks Authority that she was ready to be released back to nature. Before the release, we attached a GPS device using a special harness in order to monitor her movements, to ensure that she is surviving in nature, and to learn about her mysterious ways. She was released close to the spot where we found her, and for two weeks we received continuous data about her whereabouts (See the cover photo above from our trail camera). GPS tracking of animals in the wild has become more widespread in recent years, but for badgers this was not a routine matter at all. In fact this was one of the first efforts to track a badger in Israel, and the excitement was huge! The hope was that by tracking this badger we could finally reveal significant information about the lives of badgers, and understand the magnitude of their territory and movements and their nutrition. However, to our great sorrow, our badger did not survive. We will continue to monitor the badgers in order to learn more about this special animal.
And if by chance you come across a badger in distress, you will recognize it by its stout body, rough fur in shades of brown, black and grey, short, stout, strong legs, long nose and two small, round ears sticking up on top of its head. In such an event, call the animal conservation staff at Ramat Hanadiv so that they can immediately attend to the animal's needs. Otherwise, call the Nature and Parks Authority hotline: *3639