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Department for Continuing EducationUniversity of Oxford

Tracking Badger Territories

A new series of Google maps showing badger setts and territiories at Wytham Woods has been developed as a collaboration between the Department’s Continuing Professional Development Centre and the University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). It's a good example of how ecological research can be used directly in developing new teaching tools.

Badgers are, to many, symbolic of UK wildlife. Understanding the group dynamics of badgers is fundamental to understanding their management both as a protected species and in their unresolved role in the transmission of bovine TB. The long-term Badger Project at Wytham Woods has been studying what makes a badger population 'tick', what mechanisms govern population increase and decreases, and how populations respond to changing conditions. To this end, every individual badger in Wytham Woods has been monitored from ‘womb-to-tomb’ since 1987, building on data going back to the 1970s, making it possibly the most detailed and complete for any carnivore population in the world.

The data were supplied by two of the Department's online tutors, Dr Chris Newman and Dr Christina Beusching from WildCRU, and the maps are the work of the Department's Dr Jocelyne Hughes, Director of the new Postgraduate Certificate in Ecological Survey Techniques, and Dr John Lee who provided the GIS expertise. The maps are part of a new online course called Field Techniques for Surveying Mammals & Reptiles.

View the badger maps of Wytham.

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