Endangered B.C. badger spotted roaming residential neighbourhood

In this photo, taken by Brodie Dranchuk and submitted to Castanet, a badger is shown in a residential area of a city in B.C.'s Okanagan region.

A badger was caught on camera wandering a residential neighbourhood in B.C.'s Okanagan region, a rare sight given how few of the animals actually remain in the province.

According to Castanet, a resident of Vernon's BX district posted a photo of the endangered animal to a community Facebook group.

"Watch your pets and kids," Brodie Danchuk was reported to have written along with the picture.

There are only 250 of these large members of the weasel family estimated in all of B.C. , according to the Okanagan-Similkameen Stewardship Society. Of those, fewer than 30 are estimated to live in the Okanagan Valley.

The creatures are described by the society as "elusive," and "prefer to avoid human contact – making spotting one very unlikely. Instead, their presence is usually deduced by discovering upon a burrow

"Badgers are super diggers and can dig huge burrows up to nine metres long and up to three metres deep," the society notes.

When badgers move on, these burrows can provide nesting sites for to other endangered animals, like the burrowing owl.

There are several factors that threaten B.C.'s badger population, according to the society. First, their preferred habitats are also prime spots for development. Second, there's a scarcity of prey because they prefer to eat things like mice and other rodents that humans commonly consider pests. Rodenticides can kill badgers if they consume a rat or mouse that has been poisoned.

Badgers in BC, an organization dedicated to preserving the population, also notes the animals' particular vulnerability to being killed on highways. They tend to wander and their "home ranges" can span up to 50 square kilometres, so they can end up crossing highways or other roadways multiple times each day.

One of the things that conservationists say can be most helpful in protecting badgers is to report any sighting. Given how rare encountering one is, the following description might be helpful.

"They are mostly a grizzled greyish-tan all over and are clearly identifiable by their low, compact stature and the distinctive black-and-white stripes on their heads and face," says the Okanagan-Similkameen Stewardship Society's website, adding the creature gets its name from the black cheek "badges."

Any sightings of burrows or badgers should be reported online.