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An article published recently by the BBC in the UK brought to light a shocking discovery at the Radnor Street Cemetery in Swindon, a town about 80 miles west of London in the County of Wiltshire. The soil has been disturbed, grass has been torn up, headstones have been toppled and exposed bones have been found at the site. At first it was thought that this was the work of vandals. However it was soon revealed that badgers have been digging up graves in this cemetery that dates back about 130 years where some 33,000 people have been laid to rest since Victorian times. Now, little by little the old bones are being brought to the surface by a group of enterprising badgers that have built a network of tunnels under the graveyard.

The crafty animals are fond of using existing structures such as roads or foundations of buildings as roofs for their setts, so it should come as no surprise that the bottom surface of the casket would serve as an ideal roof for a den. It follows logically that the industrious badgers would soon discover the contents of the caskets. It is not known what would possess the creatures to remove the bones from their resting place and deposit them on the surface. Maybe they're simply clearing out the casket to create additional living space for their clan.

At first it appeared that there would be a simple solution to the problem. The badgers could be removed and taken somewhere else. The parish council proposed that the badgers be relocated to a nearby site where they would be less likely to engage in destructive mischief. However, the conservation group Natural England intervened and blocked this proposal on the grounds that this would constitute a violation of the Protection of Badgers Act of 1992, which prohibits the taking or otherwise injuring of badgers or disturbing a sett, which is a network of underground tunnels that comprise a badger den. Natural England is an NGO whose conservation mandate is set forth in legislation as the government body responsible for the stewardship of the country’s natural environment. Not long afterwards, another NGO, English Heritage, which is funded by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, also stepped in and took a position against the idea because it is believed that the field selected for the relocation might have at one time been the site of a medieval house. In addition, the entire matter is further complicated by the fact that the cemetery was declared to be a Local Nature Reserve back in 2005.

This is not the first time that this phenomenon has occurred. In 2010, children began to bring home bones they found in a field adjacent to 12th century St. Remigius church in the village of Long Clawson in Leicestershire, a small town about 130 miles north of London that is famous for its award-winning Blue Stilton cheese. Other residents reported seeing a skull and other bones protruding from the earth.

The village vicar, Rev. Simon Shoule performs regular excursions into the graveyard to search for bones which he gathers up and buries in a new grave, which cannot be anywhere near the original site due to government regulations that prohibit disturbing the badgers in any way. This has irritated the families of the deceased to see their loved ones’ remains scattered asunder and buried anonymously at other locations.

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This print measures 11 inches tall x 8.5 inches wide including the white margins around the image. The actual image is approximately 9 x 7 inches. It is printed on archival paper and signed by the artist. It is shipped flat in a rigid container.

The seller retains the copyright and exclusive rights to the artwork in this print

Badgers Behaving Badly print