The behaviour of badgers (Meles meles) in response to a period of pre-baiting and trapping undertaken for disease management research

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The behaviour of badgers (Meles meles) in response to a period of pre-baiting and trapping undertaken for disease management research

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dc.contributor.author Griffiths, Amy Louise en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2012-04-02T16:05:13Z en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2013-03-20T18:42:01Z
dc.date.issued 2011-10-25 en_US
dc.description.abstract Badgers (Meles meles) have long been implicated in the transmission of bovine tuberculosis ( bTB) and as a result, a considerable amount of time, effort and money have been invested in TB research programmes and control policies. The majority of these operations require badgers to be restrained in cage traps. Three distinct ‘populations’ (each containing four independent social groups) that had different levels of prior feeding experience (habituated, semi-habituated and naïve) were selected in the south west of England. The 12 setts were filmed using remote infra-red CCTV cameras over the duration of their pre-baiting period and the subsequent behaviour exhibited by the badgers was observed. In addition, the behaviour of badgers once captured was analysed according to the number of times an individual had been caught previously. The results from this research suggests that the pre-baiting period affects badgers’ behaviour towards traps and its bait source and that they will respond differently within this period due to differences in habituation to prior feeding. As the pre-baiting period continued, the semi-habituated and naïve badgers became more accustomed to the presence of the trap, which was shown by differences in bait and trap interaction times (an increase in bait interaction and a decrease in trap interaction) and a decrease in time from when a badger was first observed to when a badger would first enter a trap. Artificial feeding did not appear to affect group relations as aggressive encounters were limited. From an animal welfare point of view this research has highlighted that badgers only spend, on average, 37% (range 3 - 71%) of their restraint period trying to actively escape from the trap. Overall, the number of times that a badger had been previously caught had a significant effect on the active escape behaviour exhibited. Badgers that had been caught on more than three occasions would spend less time trying to actively escape than badgers less experienced to entrapment. It is important to note that trapping efficiency is not a direct result of animal behaviour only. When carrying out any form of trapping regime, a range of factors must be considered in order to maximise trapping effort, such as the availability of natural food resource and the presence of non target species. en_GB
dc.description.sponsorship Food and Environment Research Agency en_GB
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10036/3489 en_US
dc.language.iso en en_GB
dc.publisher University of Exeter en_GB
dc.subject animal welfare en_GB
dc.subject badger en_GB
dc.subject behaviour en_GB
dc.subject Meles meles en_GB
dc.subject pre-baiting en_GB
dc.subject trapping en_GB
dc.title The behaviour of badgers (Meles meles) in response to a period of pre-baiting and trapping undertaken for disease management research en_GB
dc.type Thesis or dissertation en_GB
dc.date.available 2012-04-02T16:05:13Z en_US
dc.date.available 2013-03-20T18:42:01Z
dc.contributor.advisor Palphramand, Kate en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Bearhop, Stuart en_US
dc.publisher.department Biosciences en_GB
dc.type.degreetitle MbyRes in Biosciences en_GB
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters Degree en_GB
dc.type.qualificationname MbyRes en_GB


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