30 Nights Wild, night 30

For the final night of '30 Nights Wild', I'd hoped for another close encounter with the badgers, sitting on the edge of the bramble patch next to the feeding site. Unfortunately, weather conditions were not good. There was a cold north wind and I couldn't risk sitting upwind of the feeding area, even though the cubs are getting used to my scent. I had to sit on the other side of the clearing, further from the badgers.

Nicola and Nigel

The cubs were out first as usual, had their peanuts and returned to the sett. Boris then appeared on the edge of the sett on my left. She came over, sniffing constantly but continuing to advance without much concern about seeing me. She had a feed and was joined by one of the cubs. Later, Jeremy emerged, took one look at me and rushed off back to the sett. I heard a rustling noise from brambles behind me. One of the cubs appeared from the other side of the clearing and went over to investigate. Then both the cubs came running out, had a chase around and disappeared off into the woods.

Because of my confusion over the identity of 'Boris', I almost ignored the main event of the last month - the loss of Theresa, the sow with a split ear. I watched her throughout May, closely guarding her little cub. I was puzzled by camera trap pictures of the cub wandering about on its own. It was only in early June that I discovered there were two cubs, realised that Boris was female and that she had to be the mother of the second cub. Then Theresa disappeared. She had introduced little Nicola to peanuts and I'd like to think this bit of supplementary feeding helped her through a difficult time. Very soon, it was clear that Boris had adopted Nicola. The two cubs have played together more than any other cubs I've seen in the nine years I've been watching this sett. They've become accustomed to my scent, but still won't let me move around them. It will take much longer to fully habituate them and become accepted as part of the clan.


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