By Joe McFarlane
A wildlife enthusiast captured an intense fight between a vixen and a badger over a den.
Judy Lehmberg regularly visits wildlife hotspot Yellowstone, the 3,500 square mile national park that spreads throughout Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
On one eventful trip, the retired biology professor captured a dramatic showdown between a frantic vixen trying to protect her baby kits from an intrusive badger.
Judy said: “For well over an hour we stood there in silence expecting the worst. We never heard a sound.”
Over two days, a hungry badger moved into a fox den occupied by two babies.
Though the Vixen tried with all her might to protect her babies, she was no match for the bulky Badger.
The vixen hastily dug a new, shallow den with only one opening and the kits duly moved into the new den less than 50 metres from the original.
Luckily for the vixen, instead of killing the kits, the badger ate the fox family’s stash of ground squirrels.
But with their food reserves eaten, and the father fox not having returned from hunting, the vixen was forced to abandon her babies to go hunting.
Almost immediately after the mother left, the kits went into their new den, but were soon followed by the badger, leaving the shocked crowd of onlookers speechless and fearful for the lives of the babies.
The badger finally left the scene of the crime, allowing the mother vixen to go down into the den.
Not long after, the Vixen exited her home, but sadly with the deceased remains of one of killed Kits.
The mother then proceeded to put the remains of her baby on the ground and walked around them, using her nose to bury the body.
Judy said: “I filmed the family for 10 days before the badger came.
“During those 10 days I fell in love with the family.
“I know nature is cruel, but I was very sad when they died.
“A number of people have criticised the fact that I didn’t intervene to save the babies.
“I am a wildlife biologist and do my best not to interfere with any natural process.
“Also, since this happened in Yellowstone National Park it is illegal to interfere with any animal.”