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Tillsonburg's a hot spot for the 'masters of digging'

Badgers are an endangered species and as most of you know, Tillsonburg is a hot spot of the masters of digging.

Over the last few years Josh Sayers from the Ontario Badger Project has been coming to our area to trap and get radio transmitters on badgers. This past summer they did eight, and have been busy tracking them every day.

“We have learned quite a lot through this process," said Sayers. "For starters, their territories really are remarkably large. One of the males we trapped, who we named John - we gave them all names to keep them straight - had a territory that went from Tillsonburg to Delhi, Mabee's Corners to Otterville.

“Not only do they have large territories, but they can also move large distances in a short period of time. During the last summer breeding season, when the males are trying to find the females, we had some of our badgers traveling, 10, 12, even up to 14 km in a single night.

“One of the very interesting things we've found is that badgers occasionally live quite close to people. We trapped a female named Judy just south of Tillsonburg this spring and have been amazed to find how many of her burrows are actually right within the city limits. Those many ravines that cut through town offer excellent shelter for them, and on more than a few occasions we've found her in a burrow in a ravine right behind someone's house. We certainly had no idea at the time that they would live so far into town!”

It was fantastic to learn from Sayers that another badger has been found at the north end of town as well. Sayers and his team are applying for funding now in the hopes of continuing the tracking of these fascinating animals for another year.

If you have sighted a badger, or its large oval burrow on a slope of land, or wish more information on badgers, please contact Josh Sayers (josh@ontariobadgers.org) at 226-932-9206 and check out the Ontario Badger Project. Their website is www.ontariobadgers.org with a toll-free hotline at 1-877-715-9299.

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