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Badger research news

The Dublin and Wicklow badger group was well represented at a presentation hosted by Birdwatch Ireland by Dr. Aoibheann Gaughran of Trinity College Dublin on 5th of November on her doctoral work on the impact of roadworks on the ranging behaviour of badgers.

The study was done before during and after the N11 roadworks in Wicklow and examined the effects of these on badger behaviour via GPS collars fitted to a total of 138 badgers. Contrary to prior expectations of some in the Irish farming community the roadworks had little or no effect on badger behaviour in terms of the disruption of territories (with possible risk of spreading bovine TB by any infected animals). However, the study did reveal new details of badger behaviour, in particular, "super-ranging" -- that is long distance extra-territorial excursions -- by one fifth of male badgers, and some interesting gender differences in the dispersal of adults from their natal territories, with females visiting a larger number of adjacent social groups before finding a new sett. The work is undoubtedly an important contribution to understanding badger ecology and, as result, to tackling the incidence of bovine TB in Ireland.



 


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