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Badger cull restarts across the South West

The government says Bovine TB costs taxpayers £100m each year Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

The government has announced that the Badger cull has officially restarted across Somerset - as well as in a new area in Dorset.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says Bovine TB costs taxpayers £100m each year and is a significant threat to the future of our beef and dairy industries.

But protesters argue that the culls are ineffective.

It costs nearly £6,800 to cull one badger

Credit: Wild Stock

The cost of culling badgers to tackle TB in cattle in our region is more than previously thought.

It costs £6,775 to kill one badger. This is nearly £600 more than predicted by the anti-cull Badger Trust, who made a Freedom of Information request that led to the real figures being released by the Environment Department (DEFRA).

The overall cost of the cull is almost £16.8 million.

A DEFRA spokesman says bovine TB has cost £500 million over the last decade.

The government has recently approved extending the cull to Dorset.

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Otter family go wild for new water slide

A family of otters at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall certainly have something to keep them busy this Bank Holiday - after a water slide was placed in their pool.

The new addition is part of an enrichment programme, and is meant to keep the otters entertained and stimulated. Other new methods in the zoo include a bubble machine for the penguins and a blood ice lolly for a male lion.

Badger cull to be extended to Dorset

The government has announced there is to be a badger cull in Dorset this year. Credit: Ben Birchall / PA Wire

The South West's controversial badger cull is to be extended to Dorset.

Several farmers had applied for a licence to kill the animals, which are thought to infect cattle with bovine TB.

The government says extending the cull is part of a long-term strategy to beat the disease - but protestors argue that existing culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire (which are to be repeated this year) are ineffective and fail to meet their targets.

“England has the highest incidence of TB in Europe and that is why we are taking strong action to deliver our 25-year strategy to eradicate the disease and protect the future of our dairy and beef industries.

“This includes strengthening cattle testing and movement controls, vaccinating badgers in the buffer zone around high-risk areas, and culling badgers where the disease is rife.

“Our approach of dealing with the disease in cattle and wildlife has worked overseas and is supported by leading vets.”

– FARMING MINISTER GEORGE EUSTICE

A wildlife charity which is strongly against the cull has recently awarded a grant to a badger vaccination programme in Dorset.

Brian May taking part in an anti-badger-cull protest in Bristol. Credit: PA

Earlier this week an animal welfare charity - founded by Queen guitarist Brian May - threatened legal action if the badger cull goes ahead for a third year.

Everything's going swimmingly for injured cat

A cat that was injured in a car crash in April has taken to hydrotherapy treatment like a fish to water.

Two-year-old Buddy was taken in by the Clay County Cat Care rescue centre after the accident near his home in St Austell. The charity has spent more than £2,000 for his treatment, thanks to donations from all over Cornwall.

It's a common-held belief that cats are afraid of water but Buddy is a bengal and loves the wet stuff.

The charity owner, Leanne Kent, says the water therapy has done wonders for Buddy.

She has filmed Buddy in the pool at Hawksland in Wadebridge. It is usually reserved for horses and dogs.

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Rare seal pup given permanent home in Cornwall

Badger the rare black seal pup Credit: Cornish Seal Sanctuary

A rare black seal pup abandoned by his mum when only two weeks old will need lifelong medical care.

Grey seal pup Badger was rescued from the Isles of Scilly last November with wounds thought to have been inflicted by other seals.

He has since been looked after at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, where he has now been diagnosed with a permanent thyroid condition requiring regular medication.

Badger when he was a pup Credit: Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Without regular treatment Badger would die. He responded so well to antibiotics and other treatment when he first arrived, we were confident he would soon be resuming life in the wild.

Unfortunately his condition soon deteriorated again, and that was when it was discovered he has an under-active thyroid.

– Tamara Cooper, Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Badger is the only one of 62 seal pups rescued by the Sanctuary over the winter who has not since been released.

Happily, Badger now seems to have no problems socialising with the other residents who have given him a warm welcome.

We went to film Badger at the Sanctuary. He certainly knows his way around the water.

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Horsing around? Student takes pony to collect GCSE results

Ebony Kenington was all smiles as she collected her results on horseback! Credit: Dean Blake

For many students just getting in the car to travel to school today would have been a struggle, as thousands nervously went to pick up their GCSE results.

But for one teenager from the South West, the journey was horseplay as she decided to ride to Hanham Woods Academy to collect her envelope.

Ebony Kenington might have chosen an unconventional method of travel but she was all smiles after receiving her results.

(We're assuming she got an A* in horsing around)

Record numbers of jellyfish spotted off south west coast

The Portuguese man o'war is actually a colony of different organisms. Credit: Friends of Portheras Cove

Swimmers are being warned that record numbers of jellyfish have been spotted off the south west coast.

The Marine Conservation Society says there's been a big rise in reports of barrel jellyfish, which are the size of dustbins.

The potentially deadly Portuguese man of war has also been found washed up on beaches in Devon and Cornwall.

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