Surveillance cameras used to combat bovine TB
Infrared surveillance cameras monitoring badger visits to cattle farms are to be used in a new study to determine the risk faced by individual farms of badgers entering buildings.
Defra has announced that cameras will be installed at 75 volunteer farms across South West England and over a four week period will count the number of badger visits. The study will also determine what factors encourage badgers to visit farm buildings regularly.
Badger visits to farm buildings are widespread and common although some farms are more prone to badger visits than others. The purpose of the project is to try to understand the reasons behind this and develop a method to assess the risk of badger visits to any given farm.
A survey of badger activity will be carried out near the farm buildings and details of farming practices e.g. cattle feeds, local crops, and landscape features will also be recorded.
Defra Wildlife Program Team Leader, Dr Gavin Wilson, comments: “Ultimately, this is about helping farmers determine what the best bio-security measures are for their individual farms.”
Previous Defra funded research shows that protecting buildings and farm areas susceptible to wildlife visits, such as feed stores, by installing secure gates or electric fencing and securing feed bags and bins, can reduce badger activity.