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Dead endangered badger on Williams Lake roadway raises questions

Woman wants to see greater awareness of the animals, their habitat to protect endangered animals
A North American badger was spotted dead alongside the road at Mackenzie Avenue in Williams Lake on Sept. 4, 2023. (Lisa Anderson photo)

A dead badger on the side of Mackenzie Avenue has one woman asking questions about how we can better support the endangered species in our area.

On Sunday, Sept. 5, when Lisa Anderson drove by a dead animal alongside the road, she recognized it as potentially being a badger right away.

The animal was laying parallel to the road, which made her take notice, because it was so unusual and looked placed.

“I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the stripe down his head and thought — that’s a badger,” she said.

The year before, she had a badger sighting along the Soda Creek Road, which had prompted her to confirm the sighting and report it on the Badgers in BC reporting website. She googled the animal and learned of their endangered status.

So she pulled over on her way back and went to take a closer look, despite being in her pyjamas at the time, as she had just been giving her son a ride.

“I just have to know,” she said.

Up close, she knew she was looking at the North American badger, a federally listed endangered species.

She posted a photo to her Facebook and asked if anyone knew who she should talk to, because when she reported the badger the previous year it said to not expect a response.

“So I knew that’s not going to do anything about this body.”

So it was suggested she call the conservation service, which she did. But she was met with uncertainty when she called, and Anderson said she had to try to convince them it was important.

She said because the North American badger is an endangered species, you aren’t allowed to be in possession of the animal dead or alive, and knowing how it died could be important in conservation of other badgers in the area.

“We need to know why it died, that’s crucial to making sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Anderson.

While the person on the phone said they would pass the message along, when she drove by on Monday morning, the badger was still there.

She said there was no blood, and no animals were picking at the animal, so she wondered if it had been hit on the road or something else.

READ MORE: Protection coming for large tract of threatened grassland south of Kamloops

“We don’t know what happened to him,” she said.

If it was traffic, there should be signs put up to warn drivers, she said.

She worries people may not be aware of what they’re dealing with in these types of cases and may not realize badgers are endangered, because their numbers do seem to have gone up in our area.

“Maybe their numbers drop again because we don’t take care of it properly.”

She hopes perhaps there could be signs installed where there are known badger dens in order to help alert people to badgers where they live.

She mentioned a load of rocks to fill in alongside a driveway on Soda Creek Road where a badger may have been living but people may not have been aware.

Anderson said while we may be doing really well locally, without signage, people may not be aware there are badgers in the area, their status as endangered and to try to avoid impacting them by damaging dens, hitting them on roadways and destroying habitat.

“It’s a great thing that we have them here, it’s just what to do if we see them, should we still be reporting them?”

With signs for deer and moose, she thinks it could help create that awareness if there were signs for the badgers as well.

“It’s a big deal that they’ve chosen Williams Lake to repopulate.”

Badgers need grasslands to survive and unfortunately, much of this habitat is disappearing due to human development, according to the Badgers in BC website for reporting badgers.

Members of the weasel family, badgers are also related to martens, otters, fishers and wolverines.

A page on the Government of B.C. website asks those needing to report dead small mammals to call 250-751-7246. No one answered the phone when the Tribune called but there were other numbers to point callers in different directions and the website for the Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Network for those finding injured or sick wildlife

READ MORE: UPDATE: Endangered American badger raising kits in Williams Lake

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Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

After moving back to Williams Lake, where I was born and graduated from school, I joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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