The UK’s first badger adoption centre has opened just outside Southend On Sea, giving rescued badger’s a much-needed second chance to find their ‘forever homes’ after being dumped or abused by their previous owners.
Run by the charitable Stripe Alight Foundation, the South Essex Badger Adoption Centre has space for up to 120 badgers at any time.
Members of the public can visit between 9am and 6pm from Monday to Friday, and any badgers that are ready to be rehomed can be adopted for a small donation to the centre.
The project is run by Melanie Honeydew, and she told our Chief Reporter that many of the badgers are suffering from severe psychological issues when they arrive.
She added: ‘This is Roger who is one of our newest arrivals, and as you can see he is incredibly angry about something.’
‘It’s possible that he has witnessed a traumatic event or just been shot at, but in any case his first activity at the centre will be six weeks of intensive therapy to try and get to the root cause of his issues.’
‘Good behaviour will be rewarded with extra Pedigree Chum this evening, and this is how our cycle of positive behavioural reinforcement begins.’
‘He’s a lovely boy really who must have been through some terrible times in the past, but give it a few months and he will be ready to go home with a family who will love him and care for him.’
We asked Ms Honeydew to tell us about the most harrowing case that she had seen so far.
She said: ‘Toby was brought in a few weeks ago after being found in a layby at the side of the A127 growling at a stationary Argos lorry.’
‘He had obviously been dumped there and his owners had tried to paint his white stripe with black emulsion.’
‘Our best guess is that they must have wanted to convince someone that he was a Labrador.’
‘No wonder he was so angry.’