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Ranging behaviour and btb infections

Journal

Applied Animal Behaviour Science - Vol 94, Iss 3-4 , Oct 2005, pp331-340

Authors

B.T. Garnett, R.J. Delahay and T.J. Roper from the Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York and the Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University of Sussex.

Abstract

Using radio-telemetry and direct observation, we monitored the ranging and foraging behaviour, habitat use and sett use of eight same-sex pairs of badgers. Members of each pair were of the same age-class and were members of the same social group, but differed with respect to disease status: one member of each pair was shown by culture tests to be infected with btb, while the other was uninfected. Tuberculous badgers had home ranges that were about 50% larger on average than those of uninfected badgers, and they ranged over a greater proportion of their own territory. In addition, the proportion of an individual's home range that extended into neighbouring territories was about four times larger in tuberculous than in uninfected badgers; and tuberculous badgers foraged, on average, 65% further away from their own main sett than did uninfected animals. The two classes of animals did not differ in patterns of habitat use or sett use. We conclude that the ranging behaviour of tb-infected badgers differs in important respects from that of uninfected animals and discuss the relevance of this to the problem of btb in cattle and badgers.

Keywords

Badger; Bovine tuberculosis; Foraging behaviour; Host behaviour; Ranging behaviour; Disease transmission

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