Farmers and landowners are being asked to send carcasses of dead badgers found at the roadside to allow researchers to test the animals for evidence of tuberculosis (TB).
The Defra-funded survey aims to establish whether the counties next to those with a TB issue, known as “edge areas” also have TB – and if so, how prevalent the disease is.
However, the research teams at the universities of Surrey, Nottingham and Liverpool insist that only badgers recently killed on roads should be sent to them (see address details below).
Edge area counties include badgers found on roads in: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.
Residents in others counties are being asked to get involved via “Project Splatter”, a national survey linked through to conservation projects and run by the University of Cardiff.
NFU adviser, James Osman said: “Farmers in Edge area counties will be acutely aware that the disease is moving, but many are unsure of the true ‘edge’ of infection. Hopefully this project will increase farmers’ awareness of the disease situation in their local area.”
The survey is based on a similar approach conducted in Cheshire in 2014. That study found around 20% of road-killed badgers were infected with TB, with 10% of those infected having developed signs of disease.
Live badgers will not be caught or sampled, and no badgers will be harmed as part of the study. Instead, the study will make use of badgers accidentally killed on our roads.
All carcasses must be retrieved using a collection kit, according to an approved protocol and delivered to a designated collection site.
Details of any carcasses showing evidence of illegal killing will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Who should I contact?
North Cheshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire:
South Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire and Oxfordshire: