Yesterday we received reports from concerned volunteers and visitors at our Shocott Spring site near Bedford, regarding what appeared to be blue pellets (similar in appearance to those used in pest control) and food substances being left scattered in wildlife habitat areas in our Community Woodland.

As we were not aware or involved in any activity on site, this was immediately raised with the Rural Crime Team who dispatched Officers to investigate.

At the site the Officers identified the pellets as small pieces of plastic tubing using by ecologists in mammal tracking, and happy to report that - although this practice can look alarming - it should in no way harm the wildlife.

We have this afternoon been able to identify and contact the team of ecologists using the site to complete these surveys, and their statement is below:

Ecologists are carrying out a badger bait marking survey for nature conservation purposes and to identify the territories of badgers in the local area.

These surveys are being done by a third party not part of Forest of Marston Vale. We sincerely apologise that advance notification of these activities was not undertaken.

This type of survey involves depositing piles of badger food (a mix of peanuts, oats, and syrup) mixed with different coloured non-harmful plastic pellets at each location. The local area is then searched to see which colour pellet is deposited in badger latrines found across the landscape. These pellets are designed to pass through the digestive system of mammals without causing any harm, and the distribution of the coloured pellets within badger faeces is used to determine clan territories only.

Please leave the pellets in situ so that our ecologists can get a clear picture of how the local area is utilised by badgers.

For further information please call our ecologists:

Susie Lowe or Niall Machin

Tel no: 0117 9378200

- Waterman Infrastructure & Environment Ltd

We thank the volunteers and visitors who bought this to our attention for their vigilance, so that it may be investigated and dealt with as swiftly as possible.

For further information please contact Waterman Infrastructure & Environment as requested.