Final year of TVR underway

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The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced that the fifth and final year of the Test and Vaccinate or Remove (TVR) Wildlife Intervention Research Project commenced on Monday in a 100km² area around Banbridge, Co Down.

The research project, which began in 2014, aims to monitor the effects of implementing a TVR approach on badgers in an area of high cattle TB prevalence. It will supplement the department’s knowledge base and provide new information on badgers and specifically TB in badgers.

This year, similar to the last three years of the study, the project will involve the capture of badgers, sampling, micro-chipping and vaccinating them against bovine TB with the removal of any badgers testing positive for bovine TB.

Land owners in the TVR area have been sent letters to inform them of the commencement of field activities. The department would like to thank landowners for their continued access to their land and support for this important research project.

The Year 4 Report for the research project has been published on the department’s website. It reveals there were 551 capture events, with 287 unique badgers being trapped.

To facilitate the continuous monitoring of badger movements, further GPS collars were fitted to a range of captured badgers in Year 4 before they were released. The data gained from the GPS collars recovered from captured badgers in the previous three years is providing a movement and ranging profile of each badger to establish their normal movement patterns. The co-operation of farmers and landowners in the TVR area was excellent with approximately 95% of land DAERA requested access to, being available for operations. The TVR Research Project cost £856k to deliver in Year 4, in terms of deployment of personnel, training, procurement and laboratory support.

It is anticipated that following the completion of TVR field activities in late 2018, a full analysis of data will be undertaken and it is likely that a final concluding report should be available in late 2019.