Who are we
Badger Trust exists to promote and enhance the welfare, conservation and protection of badgers, their setts, and their habitats. We are the leading voice for badgers in England and Wales, with a network of around 60 local voluntary badger groups, and supported by thousands of supporters and followers. We started as The National Federation of Badger Groups, which was formed in January 1986 and later evolved into the Badger Trust in 2005. Despite significant progress on the legal protection of this iconic species, some 35 years on from our starting point badgers across the UK are under threat more than ever before.
Badger Trust provides expert advice on all badger issues and works closely with the government, police, and other conservation organisations. We use all lawful means to campaign for the improved protection of badgers and are a member of Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW), Wildlife and Countryside Link and are represented on the UK Badger Persecution Priority Delivery Group of the National Wildlife Crime Unit.
The biggest threats to modern badgers are road traffic accidents, government sanctioned culling, wildlife crimes, developments, and habitat loss. At the Badger Trust, we provide outreach and education opportunities to schools, training to police forces and local groups, government outreach, support to local groups, press coverage on local and national levels, and drive national level campaigns to educate the public on issues effecting badgers and their habitats.
The Badger Trust relies almost entirely on the generous donations from groups, supporters, and members of the public. Getting involved with your local group and signing up for a monthly donation plan with the Badger Trust are two of the best ways you can help preserve this wonderful species for generations to come.
Find out all the great ways you can support the Badger Trust by visiting our 'Get Involved' page.
The Badger Trust Trustees
As a registered charity Badger Trust is governed according to charity law by a Board of Trustees. The trustees are also directors of Badger Trust according to company law.
All trustees are volunteers who give freely of their time and have no beneficial interest in the charity.
Trustees are responsible for setting Badger Trust’s strategic policies and objectives and for ensuring they are fulfilled.
Trustees are also responsible for keeping proper financial records. This enables them to ensure that financial statements comply with the Companies Act 2006. They safeguard the assets of the charity and take all reasonable steps to ensure the prevention and detection of fraud. They ensure that the charity is complying with all relevant laws and regulations.
To ensure trustees are sufficiently skilled to carry out its responsibilities, Badger Trust conducts a skills analysis of existing trustees before new ones are appointed. New trustees receive a full induction into Badger Trust’s work when they join, and continue to receive regular updates. Trustees receive any training deemed necessary to fully carry out their responsibilities.
Jo Bates-Keegan, Chair
Board member since 2016 and Chair since 2018
Jo Bates-Keegan was born in Lancashire and despite a foray into the South West, has never settled outside her home county. She has a BSc in Environmental Geography and Biology from the University of Hull and an MSc in Ecology and Management of the Natural Environment from the University of Bristol. She became an ecological consultant in 2007 and joined her local badger group (Lancashire) at around the same time. Little did she know the obsession that would create and she eventually found herself in the position of Chair, which she held until 2016.
As an ecological consultant she has worked on both small and large projects, supporting and carrying out survey or mitigation works and also managing all types of projects and holding numerous protected species mitigation licenses, both for a company and since becoming freelance (having had more children).
As Chair of the local group she discovered charity governance, strategy and planning, social media marketing and fundraising, how to make grant applications, PR and liaison (and also built the current website). Throughout that time and to the present date she has worked directly with badgers, both professionally and as a volunteer, carrying out rescue and release, surveys, licensing and mitigation and licensed, voluntary sett protection work.
She also works alongside her husband in a software business and for a local authority outdoor education centre.
Jo joined the Badger Trust board in 2016 and became Chair in 2018.
She wants to see a stronger, more sustainable Badger Trust and to strengthen and enhance the Trust’s relationship with its member groups.
Jo is a member of Lancashire Badger Group.
What I’ve gained from being a trustee
“I enjoy stretching myself and using skills that I wouldn't ordinarily get the opportunity to use. Sometimes it is challenging, but it's always interesting and there's always something to learn. I hope that I am making a difference, that's what I aim for.“
Nigel Tolley, Vice Chair
Board member since 2016 and Vice Chair since 2018
Nigel’s passion and compassion for animals started at the age of around eight when he became a PDSA “Busy Bee”. A specialist knowledge of badgers began to develop when the government decided on a cull.
Although he took early retirement from his family business, he now spends around 80 hours a week with the rescue and final release of not only badgers but every species of animal such as mice, birds, foxes, badgers and deer – that is in between dealing with wildlife crime, planning applications, and indeed anything that may have an effect on wildlife.
Nigel is a member of Badger Trust West Midlands and Worcestershire.
What I’ve gained from being a trustee
“ Becoming a Trustee has involved me becoming part of an important team which works together to further the welfare, and to save the lives, of badgers. This has certainly been a privilege, a very satisfying experience, and has added to my knowledge and understanding of badgers on a daily basis. We never stop learning.”
Board member since 2021
Eleanor has worked in the charity sector for over a decade, primarily as a campaigner and latterly in communications and membership. As a campaigner she has worked on a variety of causes, from disability rights, to international development, to access to – and protection of – Britain’s countryside. Eleanor is a passionate advocate of campaigning organisations as important agents of change in our community, and especially in helping to give voice to marginalised groups.
Originally from Kent, Eleanor now lives in Gloucestershire where she enjoys living close to nature. Eleanor has a real love for nature and wildlife, and a particular fondness for badgers – even despite their regular raids on her sweetcorn crops. It is this fondness that has brought Eleanor to Badger Trust, where she hopes her background in campaigning can be put to good use in this time of crisis for Britain’s badger population.
In her current role, Eleanor is Head of Membership and Marketing at the BSAVA (British Small Animal Veterinary Association) where she works with veterinary professionals to further animal welfare by promoting excellence in small animal medicine and care.
Board member since 2021
Luke Douglas is a naturalist born on the Norfolk Broads. He has always had a keen interest in wildlife, but it was not until 2010 when he moved to Henley-on-Thames that he discovered his passion for badgers and would spend many hours watching them in the local area. After moving back to Norfolk he co-founded the Norfolk Badger Trust as there was no local group to support the Norfolk badger population at the time. The group, established in 2015, works alongside local members of the public to educate, advise and protect badgers. Luke is currently chair of NBT and believes that now more than ever, badger groups across the UK and Badger Trust need to work together to tackle the cull, persecution, and misinformation that badgers in the UK face.
Outside of his day job and his work for Norfolk Badger Trust, Luke keeps himself busy rescuing and supporting other forms of wildlife around his home in the Waveney Valley. When free time allows, he enjoys setting up camera traps to capture images of the species that live around him and takes great inspiration from the late Exmoor naturalist Johnny Kingdom and the wildlife artist/ filmmaker Robert E Fuller. Luke is really excited to bring his perspective and experience to Badger Trust as a Trustee.
Luke is a member of Norfolk Badger Trust.
Board member since 2021
Peter Jackson was born in Derbyshire and now lives in Staffordshire but has moved around a bit in between. He gained a degree from University of Central Lancashire in Combined Sciences and a Masters from University of Loughborough in IT. He has worked in UK engineering companies largely in data driven environments and most recently as a Manager of a Data Centre, from which he took early retirement.
He has always been interested in animals and their welfare for as long as he can remember and has been involved with the RSPCA for many years serving as Treasurer, Chair and Regional Representative for various branches and has currently taken on the role of Treasurer for his local Branch in Burton on Trent. So when the opportunity arose to get involved with Badger Trust he couldn’t resist putting himself forward to help one of Britain’s loveliest mammals.
Peter is a member of Staffordshire Badger Conservation Group.
Board member since 2020
Siobhan MacMahon was born in Ireland and grew up on the family's dairy farm, but admits she always preferred the chickens to the cows! In 1972 she travelled to the UK on a 'gap year' and she is still here. She has dual UK - Irish Citizenship and is married to a Borderman from the incredibly beautiful Solway Firth.
A satisfying professional career as a registered nurse specialising in Acute Cardiology and Metabolic Medicine followed. She dabbled in various alternative educational studies and qualified as a teacher of the Alexander Technique in 2000. Acute Cardiac nursing was her true calling, she loved the work and realised that she was actually good at it.
Cycle Touring in The Alps with her husband, and time trial racing were her main out of work activities. A high standard of physical fitness was essential which she now finds is quite an asset while out in the field sett surveying and monitoring and for rescuing an injured animal. Following retirement and a few years residence in Southern Europe, in 2015 she with her husband and their three Cairn Terriers returned to live permanently in the cooler climate of coastal North East Yorkshire.
Her only son lives abroad and has a family of his own, so Siobhan had time on her hands and wondered how she could best use the time constructively. Membership of the local badger protection group followed, and she is a committee member and the group's secretary.
In 2020 she joined the Badger Trust as a trustee director. Her experience of science and clinical research, clinical governance, team working, prioritising and strategic planning being her main assets for the position along with her lifelong passion for wildlife, conservation and especially badgers, and her understanding of 'ordinary people'.
Siobhan is a member of East Yorkshire Badger Protection.
What I've gained from the being a Trustee
"It is an honour to be a trustee-director, being tasked with governance of a registered wildlife charity. Badger Trust has led me to the discovery of a broad spectrum of science and research literature on badger ecology and conservation (and other UK mammals.)
My hope is to empower ordinary people with a belief that, while there is a lot of work to be done, it is up to each one of us to use our power. The leading voice for badgers is Badger Trust. It is a resource for the public to use; they are using it and in increasing numbers, and that makes me feel good."
Board member since 2016
Tris was born in Shropshire into a livestock farming family on both his mother’s and fathers’ side. Quite uniquely on the farm Tris’ father George rehabilitated injured and orphaned wildlife, so Tris grew up with wildlife all around him, such as foxes, badgers, weasels, and owls. He recalls badger watching from the age of around three years old and undertaking badger surveys with Shropshire Badger Group from age eight, so he has literally grown up with badgers. His passion for wildlife came from that young age.
A natural progression for Tris was to work for George, who began a wildlife consultancy in 1991, but he was encouraged to try other occupations; he trained and worked as a chef at up to 2 AA rosette standard and in his spare time, worked with his father and other ecologists in badger surveying and mitigation work. This is what he truly loved, and a lot of pestering led to him working for his father and eventually becoming a partner in the consultancy. His ambition brought him to set up his own business in 2004, and over the past 20 years he has become a chartered ecologist and member of the Royal Society of Biology, now running a handful of successful business interests.
He has experience with mammals, amphibians, birds of prey and reptiles but it is his work with badgers where his specialism exists. He is called upon by other professionals around the country to undertake badger mitigation and enhancement measures, with the more complex or challenging schemes a recent theme in his work. He has been requested on occasion to assist Police forces and the RSPCA in badger related crime evidencing scenes as a badger expert.
He is a true Shropshire lad; he loves to get hands-on and is more at home with muddy boots rather than a suit and tie, although when called to he gives talks as guest speaker on subjects he loves such as fox, badger and yes, even bear behaviour!
In his spare time, he has become a well-known conservationist, canid expert, a part time wildlife photographer and, of recent times, trainer in badger ecology and other wildlife topics. He is a keen wildlife tracker and wildlife guide, with a knack of finding, reading wildlife and getting close to it.
He is a committee member of his local badger and mammal groups where he has undertaken badger rescue, vaccination and raising awareness. This led him to join Badger Trust as a trustee to try and promote the species nationally, raise awareness of badger crime, and to help groups with problems they face with badgers and developments.
Tris is a member of Shropshire Badger Group.
What I’ve gained from being a trustee
“ Since being on the board of a national charity I have developed skills that I am able to utilize daily and also share expertise. I have been able to see aspects of different roles within the organisation and have met people from all walks of life with different backgrounds.
The board at Badger Trust takes collective responsibility for its decisions. We have received training and have also had to deal with some really challenging but rewarding tasks over the years. I really do get a sense of achievement and also pride in helping the species and the charity at this level.
Board member since 2018
Nicola Sainsbury comes originally from Devizes in Wiltshire and now lives in Epsom in Surrey. She studied modern languages at university and worked in higher education for 25 years, covering a wide range of roles in the areas of postgraduate student administration, quality assurance, governance and research policy, primarily at King’s College London. This included the co-ordination of the university’s submissions for research funding in 2008 and 2014, and roles in research integrity and ethics.
Nicola took a career break in 2018 in order to spend more time volunteering for wildlife and nature charities. She is now working part time back in the higher education sector, including as Project Officer for the UK Research Integrity Office. When not working or on Badger Trust matters, Nicola can usually be found looking for butterflies or helping at her local wildlife rescue centre in Leatherhead.
What I’ve gained from being a trustee
“ It has been very rewarding using the skills and experience that I have built up throughout my career in support of badgers and the Badger Trust. I enjoy working in a team with colleagues from different sectors and backgrounds to support a common aim.
The role is varied and interesting, and sometimes challenging, but never dull. As someone who doesn’t have a background working in the conservation or wildlife field, I have also learnt a great deal about badgers during my time so far. “
Board member since 2021
Rosie has recently retired after a career in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Her time in the public sector ended at the beginning of 2020 when she retired from her role managing strategy for the Care Quality Commission, including regulation of the adult care sector.
Before that she had worked for District Audit, the Audit Commission as Head of Policy, Natural England and Defra, where as Policy Principal, Rosie led NE's work on the Climate Change Act and as Head of Function led a number of different areas of NE's responsibilities including, in her last posting, its approach to innovation and income. Seconded into Defra, Rosie successfully led new work resolving disputes between national infrastructure developers and regulators.
Having spent her early years in Chennai in southern India, Rosie has lived the rest of her life in the West Midlands, though her working life has mostly been in central London (she still likes trains!). Rosie now lives with her husband, Andrew, in a remote corner of the Shropshire Hills. As well as joining Badger Trust, she is the vice-chair for the Middle Marches Community Land Trust, a new organisation promoting rewilding and low intensity land management on the Welsh/English border. Once Covid restrictions allow, she hopes to do hands-on work caring for animals in a voluntary capacity. Her passion for animals informs her thinking on many issues and underpins her charity work.
For better handling of wildlife crime cases.
Rehabilitation efforts, vaccination programs etc.
Educating our children on badger issues.
Collating data to identify local crime and accident hot spots.
Getting badger issues in the local and national media.
We offer grants to local groups to make a difference at the local level.
Bringing the Badger Trust to local communities and cities.
Funding large scale campaigns on critical issues.