South Okanagan man finds and photographs family of endangered badgers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan man finds and photographs family of endangered badgers

Three badgers sit around their burrow on an acreage in Osoyoos.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Ralph Palmer

Ralph Palmer found a family of badgers on the side of his long driveway on Anarchist Mountain near Osoyoos last week and he has been enjoying observing them since.

“I noticed a pile of dirt as I went by, and when we got to the house I looked back and saw an animal there, so I set up a place to photograph and staked out,” he said. “We were excited to see a badger and then two of them and finally three.”

Palmer guesses the trio includes a mother badger and two kits. It isn’t the first time he has seen the endangered species on his South Okanagan property.

“Being an old property it had a root cellar which was abandoned years ago,” he said. “Badgers have been using it, from time to time you’ll see it has been dug out and cleaned out. I think this family overwintered here.”

Badgers in BC are endangered because of human development damaging their grassland habitats and many of them die every year trying to cross roads and railways lines, according to the BC government. A member of the weasel family, the badger is the only carnivore in the country that burrows after its food, eating other burrowing critters like pocket gophers and marmots. The species of badger that occurs in North America is called the North American badger.

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They live in dry southern valleys that have grasslands, shrub-steppe habitats or open forests of ponderosa pine or Douglas fir. They are solitary animals that only get together to mate or raise babies.

“I watched one of the young ones do something unusual, it was walking across our lawn and disappeared down the hill,” Palmer said. “Around 15 minutes later it returned with a ground squirrel in its mouth, I’ve never seen that before. It went out of view and there was scuffling and fighting at the den for the food.” 

Palmer said he and his wife have seen bobcats, elk, bears, moose and deer on the acreage. He enjoys observing them from a distance and doesn’t interfere with them.

“It’s really important to be aware and respectful of wildlife, and to look after their natural environments.”

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Badgers living on the property are also treated with respect. 

“We leave them be and where we know there have been burrows we don’t disturb the soil or take down trees around them. We know over the years they use the same burrows, we should have a sign out front that says 'badgers are welcome.'”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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