Wisconsin’s Coat of Arms. Notice the badger above the shield. Badgers were adopted as the state animal because miners often worked in hillsides underground. Badgers also have a reputation for being fearsome and tenacious, two characteristics that make them popular as a mascot for Wisconsin today.
Wisconsin’s State Animal
The American badger has long been part of Wisconsin’s heritage. Wisconsin is known as the “Badger State” and in 1957, the badger was named the official state animal. Also, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, boasts Buckingham U. Badger (“Bucky”) as their mascot. Countless businesses and local establishments sport the name badger as a symbol of both tenacity and Wisconsin state pride.
Despite the badger’s long history with Wisconsin, little is known about badgers in the state, and therefore, badgers are a protected species within Wisconsin. As a protected species, trapping is illegal and can result in substantial fines.
Few people have seen badgers in the wild because they are highly elusive, and are most active at night. As a result, even basic information like how many are in Wisconsin and where they are found are unknown. This information is essential for badgers’ continued survival within Wisconsin as much of their native habitat have been converted to agriculture.
With help from the public, the Wisconsin badger project aims to provide critical information about badgers that can aid in effective management programs to maintain Wisconsin’s most famous mammal.