Species at Risk
Taxidea taxus jeffersonii
Why protect the
The badger is one of Canada's few grassland carnivores.
In fact, it's the only carnivore, besides the black-footed ferret, that burrows
after and eats other tunnelling animals. So badgers help control ground squirrel,
mice and vole populations,
playing an important role in grasslands ecosystems.
When badgers dig - in pursuit of prey
or to excavate a burrow - they also improve the soil conditions for various
plants. In addition to this, the large burrows they create provide shelter
to other wild animals like burrowing owls and snakes.
What is Parks Canada doing to save the American Badger?
American Badger, jeffersonii subspecies.
© Parks Canada / W.
Lynch / 09.92.10.01 (94) / 2002)
The key to helping any species survive is to maintain the ecosystem that
provides it with food, shelter and other life necessities. Yet, before 1995,
the badger had not been studied much in British Columbia, so questions remained
regarding its needs and how best to restore populations.
The East Kootenay Badger Project, with Parks Canada as one of the partners,
aims to find the answers. Initiated in 1995, this exciting long term study
of badger ecology
and distribution in the East Kootenays, including Kootenay National Park,
is Canada's first intensive radio telemetry-based
study of badgers.
The project involves following badgers fitted with radio transmitters and
mapping their travels. So far (1996-2005), 31 badgers have been radio-tagged
and their movements followed to determine:
- movement rates and home range size;
- patterns of habitat use and dispersal;
- birth rates and reproductive success; and
- causes of death.
In addition, between 2002 and 2004, 16 badgers from Montana were introduced
in the Columbia River Valley to help restore the species in this region and
better understand the role of habitat in the species’ survival.
The East Kootenay Badger Project also works with landowners in order to
increase the number of badgers maintained on private property. These stewardship
projects result in increased public awareness and appreciation of the badger,
their prey and the ecosystems they call home.
Scientific research, population monitoring, reintroduction initiatives and
stewardship are all important components of the strategy to restore British
Columbia's American Badger populations.
Results of research carried out so far under the East Kootenay Badger Project
- Within the East Kootenay Trench, the badger population in the
south appears to be stable to possibly increasing slightly, but that of
the north recently reached extirpation or nearly so.
- Fourteen of the study badgers have died, due mainly to highway
kills and predation by cougars and bobcats. Annual survivorship of adult
badgers is 82%.
The results of the introduction of the Montana badgers have been encouraging-the
animals have adapted well to their new home and are producing young. Translocated
animals could help in restoring the population in the northern part of the
The knowledge obtained in this study and similar initiatives has helped in
updating the recovery strategy for the American Badger, jeffersonii subspecies.
The most recent version of the strategy was published in March 2005. The five-year
goal is to increase the number of adult badgers in British Columbia to at
least 400 individuals.