Photo: James Perdue / Flickr

The American badger (Taxidea taxus), recognizable by its distinctive facial pattern of bold black and white stripes, is an adept digger, constructing its own burrows for shelter and protection against predators and harsh weather conditions. These burrows also serve as habitat for many other grassland species like burrowing owls, tiger salamanders, and the badger’s preferred prey of small mammals such as ground squirrels, pocket gophers, and mice. The American badger jeffersonii subspecies found in BC is classified as endangered due to the significant threat of road mortality which removes important breeding adults from the population, in addition to further threats from habitat loss and fragmentation. Conservation efforts for this subspecies involve in situ (in the wild) strategies, such as habitat protection, stewardship, and restoration as well as monitoring of populations using radio-tagged individuals.

Additionally, an extirpated (locally extinct) population of badgers in BC was successfully recovered through the translocation of individuals from Northwestern Montana! Conservation translocation, the intentional movement of individuals from one location to another including from conservation breeding populations, while complex and multifaceted, is a valuable conservation tool aimed at bolstering populations of endangered species, enhancing genetic diversity, and contributing to overall ecosystem health.

Based on the potential of conservation translocations to restore badger populations, WPC has included the badger in our Conservation Action Plan, which identifies species-at-risk in Canada that may benefit from hands-on conservation interventions. WPC has supported translocation projects for the Ord’s kangaroo rat, and the swift fox, improving our knowledge of the best techniques to implement this valuable conservation strategy for at-risk mammals in Canada.

Stephanie Winton, the Canadian Species Initiative Coordinator gives a travelogue presentation on her experience working on reptile conservation projects in Mauritius as the 31st Canada’s New Noah.

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