Dr Dawn Scott has been working with the BBC, Natural Trust and RSPB on a research project investigating how predators (badgers and foxes) use different rural landscapes and how landscape management, such as habitats, fencing and landscape features and composition can affect their movement and habitat use.
One of the study sites is the National Trust Sherborne Estate in Gloucestershire where ‘watchers’ have been based this year. During winter Scott has trapped and collared three badgers as part of the study and she hopes to follow their movements into the Spring to see how their use of habitats change between seasons.
Scott says: “The aim of the study is to understand what affects predator habitat use in rural landscapes and use this to help inform conservation planning and to provide alternative methods of predator management.
“For example, if we need to keep predators away from a key bird-breeding area in the Spring, we need to know what landscape management approaches are likely to be most effective. Knowing this would reduce predation risk but also reduce the conflict that can occur when predators and conservation goals don’t align.”
The project will feature in Winterwatch tonight (29 January) at 9pm on BBC2.