Thursday, 16 June 2011

Current Research at BWC

The BWC helps out with many research projects every year, another important and vital role of any zooligical collection, and after posting about our work with Conservation Dogs (supplying pine marten scats for training Luna), I was surprised to hear of so many of our visitors interest in this side of our work. Therefore I will let you know of any other interesting work being carried out here, and with that in mind...

Currently we have work being done with our Stoats and Weasels, and a couple of projects with our Harvest Mice.

Hair sample tubes from the Vincent Wildlife Trust have been put into our stoat and weasel enclosures to test if they actually work. The idea is these smaller mustelids will go through the baited tubes and leave hair samples on some sticky tape. Once the design has been made successful, these tubes and then be relocated to the wild  as a surveying technique to see if these animals are present in a given location. So far they have collected hair well, and things look positive for a wild application.

At the same time as this we are trialing a similar device, on a smaller scale, with our harvest mice for the Surrey Wildlife Trust. This is still in its initial stages, and will yet be seen if it is a viable option for wild work.

One project that has been running for a while in our harvest mice is special feeding stations. Some of you may have seen them up in the past few weeks. These devices are hopeful of collecting harvest mice droppings while they feed off the ground, as a way to show a populations exists. Once the design has been tinkered with we will then relocate these feeders to our reserve, where a known population exists, to see if they still work. And finally they can then be used in the wild as a way of establishing if harvest mice are in the area.

Exciting animal news coming up over the next few days and weeks so keep in touch.

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