Farmyard Survey - Department of Agriculture

Farmyard Survey
and Food
Dr Paddy Sleeman
Department of Zoology Ecology and Plant Science,
University College, Cork
Evidence from UK for visits to
yards by badgers
At Woodchester Park visits observed by sick
badgers in 1970’s, two infected
badgers(Cheeseman & Mallinson 1979); in a
more recent study by Ben Garnett, bigger
home range by 50% , sixteen badgers studied
(Garnett et al 2005)
In 449 hours of observation they detected 139
separate visits by badgers to yards using
radio-tags and cameras; also found badger
dropping in troughs and they could climb 115
cm.(Garnett et al 2002)
Visits mainly in dry weather
A survey of farms in south west 36 farms in
eight seasons found 33 faeces on 10 farms,
two with BTB and an infected cadaver, they
estimated that 39% of farms were visited and
30% had risk- (Ward, Tolhurst and Delahay
In Summary
• Over the 200 farm visits twice and farmers
keeping an eye open in the interim there
were five reports of badgers in yards, and of
these four of these yards had no dogs.
• We found two series of tracks and one
(deserted) sett.
• Lots of other species especially rats and
Are we sure ?
• What sceptic would like done is for a
badger to be carried into a farm yard,
released and then surveyors sent in ‘blind’
to find tracks.
Could this be done ? One two yards in Great
Island where there is no BTB and a history
of yard visits by badgers it was done.
Capture-release study
• On ten nights in January and Feburary 2007
ten badgers were captured and released in
two farm yards.
• Of these ten the tracks were found on six
• They were found quickly but not the whole
Weather, water and badger tracks
• Water is essential for
• Water also drowns
tracks, especially the
oose between toes
It is estimated that
20mm of rain would
destroy all tracks in
Implications of capture-release
• Wet conditions helps tracks be made and
• When track is found in wet weather it can
be assumed to be very fresh- last nights
• Tracks are used widely to study badgers and
other mammals especially otters and the
short lived nature of the tracks in typical
Irish conditions need be be understood
Implications of whole study
• Reports of visits to farm yards by badgers
occurred in 2.5 % of farms.
We found evidence of badgers in 1% of yards
• Visits by badgers to Irish yards in winter are rare
and tend not to be associated with BTB outbreaks
• Where they occur tends to be in yards where dogs
are absent
• Most transmission from badgers to cattle is
occurring elsewhere
We wish to thank
• James O Keeffe who with Wayne Martin and
Leight Courner designed the study, lifted data on
herds and passed it on, Marion Murphy, Daniel
Buckley, Daphne Roycroft, Katherine Kelleher,
Ciara O’Leary-Fitzpatrick and Carl Dixon who
helped with surveys, especially with mobile
telephoning, and the capture release team; George
Lane and Harry Cummins (Cork DVO), Finbarr
O’Shea, Alan Whittaker and Mick Mackey.
Finally the two farmers; John Coleman & David
Verling, who put up with a lot!
• Cheeseman, CL, & Mallionson, PJ, (1980) Radio tracking in the study
of bovine tuberculosis In Amlander, CI & Macdonald, DW (eds) A
Handbook of biotelemetry and radio tracking Oxford, Pergamon Press
• Garnett, B. Delahay, RJ., & Roper, TJ., (2002) Use of cattle farm
resources by badgers (Meles meles) and risk of bovine tuberculosis
(Mycobacterium bovis) transmission to cattle. Philosophical
Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 269: 1487-1491
• Garnett, B. Delahay, RJ, & Roper, TJ, (2005) Ranging behaviour of the
European badger (Meles meles) in relation to bovine tuberculosis
(Mycobacterium bovis) infection. Applied Animal Behaviour 94: 331340
• Sleeman, D.P. & Mulcahy, M.F., (1993) Behaviour of Irish badgers in
relation to bovine tuberculosis. In Hayden, T.J. (ed) The Badger,
Royal Irish Academy, Dublin