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Zoology researchers from Trinity, working with the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine (DAFM) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), have unlocked the secrets of dispersing badgers.
Their research, reported today, has major implications for implementing vaccination programs to limit the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB).
Findings - Time - DAFM - Program - Badgers
The findings come at an opportune time, as DAFM has commenced rolling out a national program to vaccinate badgers in its efforts to eradicate TB.
Badgers are a protected species and are one of Ireland's most iconic wild creatures, but they can harbor TB and inadvertently transfer it to cattle. Infected cattle must be culled, which results in the loss of millions of euro each year in the agricultural sector, which can devastate individual farmers and their families.
Badgers - TB - Option - Risks - Badgers
Vaccinating badgers against TB provides an excellent option to mitigating these risks, but to do that effectively, it is imperative to understand how badgers move around in the wild and to target those most likely to spread disease. Badgers are social animals, living together in a shared territory.
In the research, just published in leading international journal Ecology and Evolution, the zoologists describe the process of dispersal in greater detail than ever before after trapping and vaccinating 139 badgers, and monitoring their movements closely.
Aoibheann - Gaughran - Postdoctoral - Researcher - Trinity
Aoibheann Gaughran, Postdoctoral Researcher in Trinity's School of Natural Sciences, was the lead author on the paper.
She said: "We found that only 17% of the badgers we tracked dispersed, so...
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