Badgers With TB Rarely Meet Cattle02 April 2013
UK - The complexity of the badger cull debate has heightened after scientists have found evidence to suggest direct contact between badgers and cattle is rare.
Over 12 months, researchers at the Royal Veterinary College and the Food and Environment Research Agency have been monitored and analysed movement data collected from high-tech proximity loggers fitted to animals.
Pasture based badger latrines were the focus of observations in farmland in south west England, an area particularly effected by tb with a high population of badgers.
Direct contact (classed as within 1.4 metres) only occurred four times out of over 500,000 meetings between cattle and badgers.
Dr Julian Drewe from the Royal Veterinary College who led the study, said: “Our findings reveal that direct contacts between badgers and cattle at pasture are surprisingly rare, despite ample opportunity for interactions to occur, suggesting that the two species may be ignoring or even actively avoiding one another.
“The study was conducted in an area with a high badger population, so it is likely that such direct contact will be even less frequent in areas of the country where there are fewer badgers,” he added.
Dr Drewe concluded that this has clear management implications and called for more work to be done to reduce tuberculosis in the future.
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