The Badger Trust is very sad to hear of the death of Don Hunford at the age of 93.
Don was one of Britain’s leading experts on badger ecology and behaviour, after spending over 60 years of his life watching badgers and campaigning for their protection
He first started watching badgers near his home in Benfleet in Essex in the 1950’s, but soon became worried about the danger of building development destroying the setts he was monitoring.
In 1963 he was able to buy a house right next to one of the setts, which enabled him to provide long term protection to the badgers, which brought so much happiness to his life.
Over the following years he purchased areas of woodland around the house to give better protection to the badger setts and built a hide to give other people the opportunity to share the wonderful experience of badger watching.
Over many decades hundreds of people including politicians, journalists, scientists and film makers got their first opportunity to experience the beauty and wonder of badgers for the first time from Don’s hide.
Don kept a daily record of the activity of the badgers which gave a remarkable insight into their behaviour and ecology over his lifetime.
He also became a key figure in his local Essex Badger Group and an ambassador for badger protection across the country through his presentations at schools, colleges and wildlife conferences.
On becoming CEO of the Badger Trust, my first opportunity to see a wild badger was alongside Don in his hide.
I remember being bowled over by his passion and knowledge of badgers, which inspired me to fight even harder for their protection.
It was a great honour to introduce Don Hunford as a keynote speaker at the Badger Trust Conference in 2015, which was his last major speech on his love of badgers (https://youtu.be/EImvVWqlJS8).
Don was a gentle, caring and compassionate man that dedicated his life to protecting badgers and became an inspiration to a new generation of wildlife warriors across Britain.
He will be sadly missed and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
Dominic Dyer CEO Badger Trust