Rampaging badger's reign of terror

Helen Carter : from The Guardian 14:05:03

A badger named Boris went on of a two-day rampage, attacking five people and leaving one man needing surgery for his bites, it emerged yesterday. He launched his attacks in Evesham, Worcestershire, after being set free from a wildlife park. His final victim, Michael Fitzgerald, 67, suffered the most serious injuries. He was transferred to a hospital in Birmingham and needed W1 two skin graft operations to wounds on his forearm and legs.

During Boris's reign of terror, he also forced two police officers who were trying to catch him to retreat to the safety of their patrol car.

Badger experts say Boris had been inappropriately hand-reared and had too much contact with humans. Consequently, he had lost his natural fear of people -attacking them instead of running away.

The one-year-old badger had been hand-reared before he was taken in by Vale Wildlife Rescue. Staff there said he had never displayed any signs of aggression. He was stolen, or deliberately released, from the centre last week.
Boris bit two young men on their way home from a pub last Thursday. On Friday, he attacked a woman walking her dog in Evesham, and another man went to hospital after he was bitten. Later that night, the badger became trapped in Mr Fitzgerald's garage. His wife, Pam, said the attack was like a "bizarre horror movie': She said the animal slowly walked towards her husband and attacked him. "It caught him on his arm ...he has lost quite a lot of skin on his arm and some of the flesh. He is very badly shaken up and he's going to be permanently scarred.
"To hear your husband screaming and shouting in such pain, it was horrifying."

Mike Weaver, chairman of the Worcestershire Badger Society, was called out by police to capture Boris, who was later put down by a vet.

Mr Weaver said: "Badgers are fiercely territorial in the wild. They will attack other groups of badgers. Boris was in an alien environment, confused and probably hungry and was just acting instinctively. This tragedy shows the folly to keep wild animals as pets."

Elaine King, chief executive of the National Federation of Badger Groups, said: "Badgers
are powerful animals and we strongly advise against their domestication. Boris's behaviour was quite unlike that of a wild badger, which would have an instinctive fear of humans."

The National Federation of Badger Groups said it had no records of wild badgers biting people - except when they were injured or trapped.