A five-year badger vaccination programme has been launched to help stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, which is against culling the animals, is carrying out vaccinations at two of its nature reserves.
It comes after a six-week badger cull was launched in west Somerset in August. It has since been extended by three weeks because fewer animals were killed than had been hoped.
The vaccination programme in Staffordshire is intended to help reduce the risk of tuberculosis being transmitted between badgers and cattle.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s head of living landscapes, Dr Sue Lawley, said: “Bovine TB causes huge economic hardship and distress to the farming community and we are very conscious of the need to find the right mechanisms to control the disease.
“However, we believe that a badger cull is not the answer and that the development and deployment of a cattle vaccine is the long term solution to bovine tuberculosis.
“The wildlife trusts have been lobbying the European Commission to change regulations relating to cattle vaccination, but until a cattle vaccination becomes available we believe that next best step is to vaccinate badgers against the disease.”
Volunteers from the trust will be targeting up to four badger setts this year.
The use of a badger vaccine is currently the only non-lethal way of tackling TB.
Earlier this year Staffordshire Wildlife Trust launched a public appeal to raise £25,000 for its badger vaccination scheme.
The appeal has now almost reached its halfway mark at just over £12,000.
During the vaccination process wild badgers are captured overnight in live traps before being treated with the vaccine the following morning and then released back into the wild.