National Volunteers’ Week 2014 – Peter Cook, Badger Vaccination Volunteer

National Volunteers’ Week is a celebration of the incredible work done by volunteers across the country, and so throughout the week we’ll be posting profiles of just some of our incredible volunteers. 

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s badger vaccination programme is now in its 3rd year – you’ll be hearing more from our staff who vaccinate later in the summer. Peter Cook has joined our team as a volunteer, doing hugely important survey work:

Peter Cook“Hello, I’m Peter Cook and although retired have retained my status as a professional Chartered Engineer; I am also a Warwickshire Wildlife Trust volunteer.

At the beginning of 2013 the Trust was looking for volunteers to help in moving forward their badger bovine TB vaccination programme, in particular surveying reserves for recent signs of badger activity, recording such activity such that pre-baiting, trapping and finally vaccinating could take place. The main thrust of this was to take place in south Warwickshire, using the M40 as a loose boundary. Although quite a few turned up to the introduction meeting it appears that because I am retired, and therefore could make sufficient time available, and live in the right area, I was the most suitable candidate.

In all I surveyed some  300 Hectares of land and was so intrigued by the project that I successfully completed the lay vaccinators course, carried out a good deal of the pre-baiting and help to set the traps prior to vaccination. This year I hope to be one of the privileged few to be on the Trust’s accreditation list which will enable me to apply for a lay-vaccinators licence and hence vaccinate badgers.

I understand the anguish of the farming community and their plea for help in controlling bovine TB but given the scientific evidence I fail to understand the Government’s willingness to proceed with a cull. I can’t stop the cull, which I see as negative, but I can help with badger vaccination which I perceive as being positive. The hope must be that given time the cull funding will be redirected to support vaccination, currently carried out largely by self funded groups such as the Wildlife Trusts and volunteers. If anyone is interested in helping please contact Karl Curtis at the Trust; donations to support the project are also welcome.”

To read more volunteer profiles, visit the volunteer pages of our website.

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