News story

Badgers go nuts for special fence gates on the defence estate

Peanut butter is being used to guide badgers through special gates in a fence surrounding new native woodland planted near Edinburgh by the Woodland Trust Scotland.

First World War Centenary Woods. Ian Guthrie/Woodland Trust. All rights reserved.

First World War Centenary Woods. Ian Guthrie/Woodland Trust. All rights reserved.

Badgers are creatures of habit and tend to follow established trails. Peanut butter is one of their favourite treats and has been smeared on the bottom of the gates to coax the creatures into using them.

Major Kim Torp-Petersen, DIO’s Executive Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland said:

DIO’s role is to maximise the potential of the defence estate to support the armed forces. We also have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that the military training estate is protected.

DIO has enjoyed working closely with the Woodland Trust Scotland to create the Centenary Wood. To see these first images of the badgers in the newly planted areas is a testament to that working relationship as it underpins MODs approach to biodiversity and nature conservation of the MOD estate.

Site manager Russell Jobson said:

The gates we’ve installed are specially designed for badgers to push through instead of digging under the fence wire. They are quite stubborn creatures and can take a while to adjust but a smear of peanut butter helps coax them into using the gate.

Ultimately the Centenary Wood will benefit a wide range of wildlife including badgers, barn owls and bats. We need to maintain the fence to stop animals such as hares and rabbits damaging young trees and the gates stop badgers from undermining it.

The Woodland Trust Scotland is working in partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to create Scotland’s First World War Centenary Wood at Dreghorn and Castlelaw Ranges near Edinburgh.

More than 50,000 native trees will be planted over 100 acres, connecting existing woodland and proving new habitat for wildlife. Members of the public can dedicate a tree within the new woodland at:

The First World War Centenary Woods project is supported by lead partner Sainsbury’s, individuals, landowners, schools and community groups, who are helping the Woodland Trust to plant millions of native trees to commemorate the World War 1.

Published 4 February 2016