A female badger left badly injured after being struck by a vehicle in Crosland Hill has been nursed back to health – and has now given birth to cubs.
The badger – named Tilly – was found at the roadside in October last year and was thought to have been killed.
Though severely-injured and very afraid, Tilly was rescued by Kirklees Badger Protection Group and cared for at an animal sanctuary in Whitby.
Now, five months later, Tilly has recovered and has just given birth to three cubs – Faith, Hope and Charity.
A spokesman for Kirklees Badger Protection Group told how a member of the public stopped to help and quickly realised that although Tilly had suffered a massive trauma she was still alive.
Tilly’s sett was just across the road but the stricken badger was unable to move. In a desperate bid to escape rush-hour traffic she burrowed into the banking at the side of the road.
Members of Kirklees Badger Protection Group were called and Tilly, though exhausted and afraid, was carefully removed from the furrow and gently placed into a carrying cage.
Tilly was taken for treatment to Donaldson’s Vets where she was sedated and found to have a fracture of her left hind femur.
The options were to either put her to sleep or find a rescue centre that could provide three months of cage rest.
Tilly spent a week at Meltham Wildlife Rescue where, after initially refusing food, she started eating again. After that a place was found at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary.
The spokesman said: “Arrangements were made to transport her and while she took considerable persuasion to enter the carrying cage she showed no aggression.
“The cage was covered with a blanket and she was lifted into the boot of the car whilst a small group of well-wishers said their goodbyes and took photos.
“She must have realised that we had her best interests at heart as she was a very amenable passenger. On arrival at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary she willingly entered the recovery pen and hid herself away in a bed of fresh straw. We quietly departed and left her to settle in.
“It was deemed too risky to return her to her clan when she recovered as she had been away far too long and would not have the familial clan scent and could therefore be at risk.
“So, whilst she was recuperating, an artificial sett and a bespoke pen were installed on private land in preparation for her return.”
Tilly was due to return to her new home in January this year but that was postponed due to an outbreak of avian flu at the sanctuary. Sadly, all the birds in their care had to be euthanised and the rescue centre closed temporarily.
But then there was some happy news. The spokesman added: “During her extended stay Tilly unexpectedly gave birth – so the world of mother nature continued to move forward with the arrival of three beautiful cubs.
“Both the sanctuary and ourselves were thrilled. Tilly’s cubs were named Faith, Hope and Charity. Sadly, Charity – the smallest – passed away early on.
“Despite the sad loss Tilly has proved herself to be an attentive mother and both Faith and Hope continue to thrive under her watchful eye.”
Arrangements will be made to bring Tilly and her new family home but, in the meantime, they are moving into a large outdoor enclosure at the sanctuary to avoid being habitualised by human contact.
Search Kirklees Badger Protection Group on Facebook for more information on how you can help.