For the past 12 months Earth Rangers has been deep undercover searching for a tough and reclusive animal. The American badger saving team, made up of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, researcher Josh Sayers, and Earth Rangers has been radio tracking six badgers to learn how to protect these night time loving carnivores and building them a home to hide out in.
American Badger Advocates
From September 2012 to August 2013 about 8,000 kids signed up to protect one of the most endangered mammals in Canada. Together their campaigns made a year of American badger saving possible! Many of the Earth Ranger kids got their friends and families involved, some had neighbourhood clean-ups, while others, like Super Ranger Jovanna, made information sheets to raise awareness. Thanks to you, the American badger can feel a little safer building its home in Ontario.
Did We Meet Our Goals?
As part of this year’s Bring Back the Wild project for the American badger, we set out to:
- Remove invasive plant species (Autumn olive, Multiflora rose, Honeysuckle, Garlic mustard) from an 11 km stretch of forest/field edge American badger habitat
- Improve American badger habitat by grassland restoration and creating sand ridges for building badger burrows
- Help with radio tagging to track American badgers
We are excited to say that we have achieved 100% of our goals. The completed restoration site has created new homes for badgers and the radio tagging has made it possible for scientists to learn more about American badger ecology and behaviour. Here’s how your fundraising campaigns made a difference.
Your Donations in Action
Building a Badger Pad
Making a badger home is a lot of work, that’s why we needed so many kids to help support the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s restoration project in Norfolk County. By the spring of 2013 the site had undergone a huge transformation.
• Thousands of invasive plants were removed to clear the way for native plants and animals, including American badgers
• 100 acres of farmland were seeded with native grassland flowers and grasses along with pockets of 4,010 tree seedlings including White, Red and Black oak, White pine and various other native tree species
• Earth was moved to make ridges for burrowing
• Wetlands were created to increase local biodiversity
• The area was also connected to other protected habitats, making corridors for badgers to move around safely
The Badgers Move in!
How do we know all this site restoration has helped badgers? One of the best ways to tell is to look at the local badger population. Researcher Josh Sayers has been using radio telemetry to track American badgers from a local population. In particular, Josh has been following a badger named Sue, who had kits in the spring of 2013. The mom and her babies have been using the restored area to find food and build burrows. A new female badger has also been spotted in the area; she’s been named Judy and she has one kit. Josh is now radio tracking Judy as he continues collecting information about badger behaviour.
Throughout the year your fundraising campaigns have helped researcher Josh Sayers radio tag and track six badgers named Brian, Steve, Keith, John, Ken and Sue.
All of them are doing well and the data collected shows that for the 2012-2013 season, outside of the winter months, they moved an average of 1km nightly. Some badgers moved a lot more; one made a record dash of 11.5km in a single night! In the winter when the weather was cold the badgers moved much less, as little as 200m in four months. All this badger tracking has also shown researchers that American badger home ranges in Ontario are much bigger than originally thought, the largest being 233 square kilometers. By comparison, home ranges for badgers in Illinois average 29.55 square kilometers and for Ohio 9.52 square kilometers.
It is awesome to know that badgers in Ontario have additional space to find food, reproduce, and raise their young. In the coming year Josh will continue to track more badgers and work to expand his study to look at hair samples, testing the DNA to determine how related the badgers are in this area.
High-fives and celebration dances are in order for all the amazing Earth Rangers who started Bring Back the Wild campaigns for the American badger! Thanks to you, Sue and Judy’s kits, as well as many more generations of badgers to come, will continue to have a home. Complete success at bringing back the wild — a job well done everyone!