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Badger latrine distribution at Wytham

Individual activity: How are the badger territories at Wytham distributed spatially?

How would you go about surveying the extent of the territory of a social group of badgers, and then working out the same thing for all badger social groups in Wytham?

  1. This may seem like a daunting task. Designing the protocol requires some careful thought and a little imagination. Try to think about the field signs needed to work out the extent of the territories. How can you distinguish the field signs between one social group and another?

    In the second part of your Research document write a short protocol explaining your chosen method of surveying the spatial distribution of badger territories. Keep in mind: the size of the woods; the time you have to conduct the survey; whether you are doing it on your own or with other surveyors; whether you will need any equipment; the duration of the survey; health and safety considerations; animal welfare issues.

    To help you, have a look at the article by Stewart et al 2001 making note of the methodology they used, as well as the BBC website (previously listed in the Sett location map). Both will provide clues on how to delimit badger territories.

  2. The next step is to design a second data recording sheet. This is the sheet you would use to record your survey data in the field. It may include: individual field signs including number of latrines with scats; their location; distinguishing factors including number and colour of pellets. Add this data recording sheet to your Research document.

  3. Now go into the latrine distribution map where you will see a sample of four badger setts. By clicking on each sett, you can see which latrines are associated with each sett. Save a map of the latrines associated with one of the four sample setts. (You can do this by pressing Print Screen on your keyboard. Then go to your Research document and select “paste” in your edit menu.)

    What does the map tell you about the extent of the badger territory in this sample? Have another read through the article by Stewart et al. 2001 and add the latrines map to your Research document.

  4. You can now show the badger territories map for the whole of Wytham Woods. This was compiled using latrine data for all the badger setts in the Woods.

    Is this what you expected to find? Were you expecting to find more territories or fewer? Think about how the territories abut against one another (called tessellations), how the setts are associated with each territory, and the spatial distribution of the territories. Write a short paragraph on your findings in your Research document.

Finally, upload your Research document to the Badger forum.