Fact-based scientifically-accurate educational information about Badgers
Home Shop Animals Pictures Help Seeing Groups Education News Search Books
Teaching Age 3-7 Age 8-11 Age 12-16 Age 17+ Poems Stories Politics Research Journals

Finding Badgers?
Buy our Finding Evidence of Badgers booklet

For Teachers!
When you view our web-site on screen we show a few adverts (as these help pay for the web-site). If you print these pages, the adverts disappear, so you can use our web-site to produce advert-free handouts.

Research Ideas 6 to 10

Badger Encounters in the Wild book Badger Encounters in the Wild Jim Crumley [Book]
Superb book of Jim Crumley's encounters with badgers in the wild in Scotland. The quality of the writing is superb. A great  read. Click here to buy:
Encounters in the wild
Here are some research or discussion ideas for further study.

6. Stress and Infectivity

With many mammals, if you subject them to physical or environmental stress, you can effectively induce altered behaviour patterns and reduced the ability of the animal to cope with infections and illnesses.

  • How might you test the hypothesis that badgers which have been "stressed" by gassing, trapping and culling might be more likely to fall victim to tuberculosis infections?

7. Mathematical Model - Badger TB

Research has shown that a greater proportion of male badgers leave their birth sett than female badgers.

  • What factors would you take into account if you wanted to produce a mathematical model of culling badgers to try and reduce the incidence of tuberculosis in the wild badger population?

8. Mathematical Model - Bovine TB

The incidence of tuberculosis in cattle depends on a variety of factors, including: the lack of testing, the unreliability of any test, general cattle health, living conditions of the cattle, organic status of the herd, distance to market, travel stress, herd mixing, biosecurity, neighbouring herds TB status, weather conditions, cattle passports, husbandry skills, regular veterinary inspections and other factors.

  • How would you go about building a mathematical model to assess the percentage chance of a cow getting tuberculosis in any particular year?

9. TB in Saliva

There is anecdotal evidence that, when farmers have ineffective fencing, animals like rats, badgers and deer can gain access to fields and barns; and sometimes eat cattle food. How might you test the hypothesis that saliva from wild rats, badgers or deer can contaminate cattle feed.

  • How could you assess the risks of any saliva contaminated with tuberculosis might cause bovine tuberculosis in cattle?

10. Weather-related TB infections

There is some evidence that the incidence of bovine tuberculosis is affected by the weather in the winter and early spring; the acidity of the soil, the soil type, the biosecurity precautions taken by the farmer, the proportion of cattle incoming to the herd, the tuberculosis status of the herd and nearby herds and (controversially) the nearby presence of badgers who have tuberculosis.

  • How would you go about developing a mathematical model to assess the percentage risk of a particular herd having at least one tuberculosis infection over the next 12 months?