Laredo, Texas (WiredPRNews.com) — Burrowing rabbits and badgers are digging under hundreds of ancient monuments located in England damaging the landmarks that have been around for hundreds of years. The English Heritage released a study this week which revealed the extent of the damage. The Heritage is a government body of preservation which conducted a study of 70,000 sites including shipwrecks, battlefields and castles.
According to the report, rabbits and badgers are posing severe danger to nearly 280 archaeological places in southwest England alone, including the ones located around the ancient Stonehenge monument. The report, named “Heritage at Risk”, revealed that one in every twelve protected sites in England it at high risk from different threats including tree and scrub growth, neglect, vandalism and burrowing.
The ancient monuments inspector of English Heritage, Amanda Chadburn, said that sites such as the Bronze Age burial mounds, Iron Age hill forts and the Neolithic long barrows are at great risk from the burrowing animals. The southwest part of England is the most affected area because there is a huge number of rabbits in the region and 40% of the badger population of the country has settled there as well.
The number of badgers increased drastically after they were made a protected species in the 1990s. The survey also highlighted the Offa’s Dyke which is a massive protection construction along the Welsh border by an Anglo Saxon king from the 8th century.
Some of these species are protected by wildlife authorities and cannot be killed; fencing is not practical and affordable. Chadburn said that laying strong metal mesh around the sites can be effective as it will prevent rabbits from burrowing, however this is only applicable to smaller monuments like the Salisbury Plain and not for larger sites such as the hill forts. Although the mesh coverings can be quite expensive, they are like a one-time investment as they may last for three decades.