Home page » Ecology case studies » Edinburgh Tram Line

Edinburgh Tram Line

Badger survey

In order to devise an effective mitigation strategy for the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link and Tram Line 2 a badger bait marking exercise was carried out by The Wildlife Partnership to generate information on the following:

  1. to establish the impact of the proposed transport schemes between Edinburgh Airport and the Glasgow Road (A8) on two badger social groups
  2. to establish the impact of foraging loss on two badger social groups
  3. to delineate territorial boundaries of three badger social groups potentially impacted by the proposed developments
  4. to decide on a detailed mitigation strategy

Badger dung pit searched for the presence of plastic pelletsBait marking relies on the known territorial  behaviour of badgers where territorial boundaries are actively marked with dung pits or aggregations of dung pits known as latrines.  The principle of the technique is to feed badgers with a mix of peanuts (a favourite food), syrup and indigestible plastic markers. Different colours of plastic markers and food mix are fed at each main sett. The badgers eat the food and transport the plastic pellets to boundary latrines which are then mapped.  Bait marking has to be done at two specific times of year as territorial boundaries are actively marked in early spring with a less pronounced peak of activity in the autumn.  In order to target badgers specifically, food is placed under large stones to prevent other species getting access or at least to impair their efforts. Food is dispersed around all sett entrances in order to encourage as many badgers as possible to feed and so get maximum distribution of the pellets.  Food was also put down sett entrances. The amount of food given was in response to how much was taken and from what specific locations.  Great care was taken to minimise disturbance while feeding and to feed in the morning to ensure that any human odour had dispersed by the time of emergence.