17 November, 2011
25th Anniversary Appeal of WildCRU Wytham Woods Badger Project
Now in its 25th year, WildCRU's Badger Project embodies the kind of long-term research and data collection we need to address today's wildlife conservation dilemmas. We are appealing for your help to maintain this critical study.
The badger study was begun in Wytham Woods outside Oxford in 1973, with pioneering work by Professor Hans Kruuk, then David Macdonald's supervisor. Subsequently, David has kept the study going until it now represents one of the most extensive databases in the world on any medium-sized mammal. Since 1987 we have maintained an unbroken history of Wytham's badgers - with records for over 1,320 individuals. Every year the information significantly gains in value (badgers being long-lived, it can take over a decade to follow the fate of a single generation).
This continuity makes the study irreplaceable - and it is only now reaching a peak of productivity as long-term patterns begin to emerge from successive generations of badgers. Because it takes so many years to follow the story of a generation of badgers, it is vital to keep this study going to see how their population and behaviour unfold as, for instance, the climate changes.
The task is immense - each year we record the births, deaths and behaviour of over 100 badgers. Since 1991 Chris Newman (right, middle), and Christina Bueshing (right, bottom) have overseen the project - maintaining the fieldwork, managing the database and supervising graduate students as we take forward these analyses. The field work is heavy, and the desk work increasingly complex, and their knowledge of the woods and the animals is unequalled. We plan to continue the project for at least a further five years, and it is therefore essential we find the funds to maintain the running costs.
To achieve this, we have therefore launched this 25th Anniversary Appeal to raise funds over five years to cover the project's annual costs. If you would like to support the appeal, please go to the Online Giving page, or for more information, please contact Diana Roberts.
The Badger Project
Badger Genetic Research
Badger Vocal Communication
Dr Chris Newman
Dr Christina Buesching
Design/artwork: Adam Warne. Photograph: © A L Harrington