The behavioural responses of badgers (Meles meles) to exclusion from farm buildings using an electric fence

Bryony Tolhurst, Alastair I. Ward, Richard J. Delahay, Ann-Marie MacMaster, Timothy J. Roper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Behavioural investigations into the transmission of bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis) between badgers and cattle suggest that badger activity in farm buildings may incur a significant risk of cross-infection. However, measures to exclude badgers from buildings have not been systematically field-tested. In the present study, remote surveillance and radio-tracking were used to monitor the effect of electric fencing manipulations on the frequency of badger incursions into feed stores and cattle housing, and on badger ranging behaviour. Electric fencing was effective in preventing access to the farm buildings where it was installed and also significantly reduced incursions into unfenced buildings. Badger home range and core activity areas tended to increase in size when the fencing was installed, although they did not extend beyond the boundaries of the relevant social group territories. We discuss the logistical constraints of using electric fencing in this context and conclude that it is a potentially useful method of reducing contact between badgers and cattle, within farm buildings and yards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-235
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume113
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2008

Keywords

  • badger
  • avoidance behaviour
  • farm buildings
  • disease transmission
  • electric fencing
  • ranging behaviour

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