By definition, an American badger is a short and heavily-built member of the weasel family typically with a grizzled grey coat and black-and-white face, but for the researchers with the Ontario Badger Project, the some 200 badgers which call Ontario home are something much more worthy of our attention.
Josh Sayers, a biologist and research technician at Trent University, has certainly done his part and more as the leader of the Ontario Badger Project, an initiative program aimed at filling knowledge gaps through research that will ultimately aid in the long-term conservation of badgers in Ontario. The project started in 2008 under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Kyle, chair of Forensics at Trent, and Joe Nocera, adjunct professor in the Environmental & Life Sciences graduate program.
“Much to everyone's surprise, including our own, we did manage to live-trap a badger, which we tracked that entire summer. We realized it might actually be possible to live-trap a sufficient number of badgers to gain a bit of an insight into their movement patterns and habitat selection. Over the next couple of years we live-trapped 10 badgers,” says Mr. Sayers.
It has been almost ten years since the project began, but Professor Kyle explains that the project continues to have an impact on wildlife conservation and experiential learning opportunities for students at Trent.
“The Ontario Badger Project is another example of the important synergies between Trent researchers and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) scientists in demonstrating leadership in wildlife conservation and providing students with important skill sets given their experiences with both government and academic researchers,” explains Prof. Kyle.