Research progress archive
April 2013: Our surveys have identified all our setts and latrines on our sites. Now for bait marking! This was a fun task, specially designed for those who don’t mind getting very sticky hands. Mixtures of coloured beads, peanuts and golden syrup are apparently irresistible to badgers and so at each sett dollops of this recipe (with a unique bead colour for each sett) were distributed under large rocks (to dissuade those other animals keen on the feast). After a couple of weeks of feeding, all latrines previously found during the surveys were revisited and investigated to find the where the beads have ended up. Badgers use latrines to mark their territory and therefore identifying which latrines contain which coloured beads allows us to map the extent of territories for different social groups and to find out which setts are used by the same groups. This information is particularly important for trapping so that we ensure that each social group is sampled evenly.
March 2013: We’ve all been exploring our sites a bit more while surveying. We have walked all field boundaries on the sites looking for setts, badger latrines and any other badger signs. We have also recorded any features that may lead to direct or indirect contact between badgers and cattle. This has included a thorough exploration of the farm buildings and also noting any water and feed troughs or silage clamps throughout the farms. The weather has been both a help and a hindrance – surveying in snow and gales has been less than ideal, but at least the chilly weather has kept the vegetation low for longer, allowing us to identify setts and latrines more easily!
February 2013: During the winter, we have been busy chatting about our project to farmers throughout Cornwall. We have had an excellent response and we are now very close to establishing all of our study sites.
November 2012: We have successfully trapped and collared our first badger. We will monitor the badger closely to ensure the collar does not cause any negative effects. The collar will collect GPS data to enable us to monitor the movement of the badger.