The Sussex Wildlife Trust believes that in the short-term, badger vaccination has the potential to help reduce bTB without the negative impacts related to culling and we have implemented a programme of vaccination on two of our nature reserves in East Sussex.
For badger vaccination to be effective, a good proportion of the land owners within a bTB high risk area need to be willing to take part in order to gain access to the majority of the badger population. Our nature reserves only cover a small area of the East Sussex bTB high risk area, so it is vital that we work with other landowners in a coordinated approach to vaccination. This is why we are working with the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project (SBVP) to ensure that as many badgers in the high risk area are vaccinated as possible.
Research has shown that vaccination programmes have the best chance of gaining a high level of resistance within badger social groups if continued annually for at least 5 years. Additionally any control programme must be done alongside a whole raft of other measures. Badger vaccination is at the forefront of the plan, supported by better management of our own livestock. This requires substantial investment so thank you to all who are supporting this work by donating to our Sussex Badger Appeal.
We’ll never allow badger culling on our nature reserves, but vaccination may help control the spread of the disease, and that’s vital if we’re to continue to manage our nature reserves effectively.
**UPDATE July 2017**
Sussex Wildlife Trust is continuing its partnership with the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project to vaccinate the badgers resident in its nature reserves on the Lewes Downs (Malling Down and Southerham Farm). This area is in a Bovine tuberculosis hotspot.
This vaccination programme, having been started in 2015 had to be postponed in 2016 whilst the vaccine was temporarily unavailable on a global basis. The programme is planned to run from 2017 until 2022 as it needs to cover five consecutive years for maximum efficacy.