Badgers in British Columbia are ranked as Endangered by COSEWIC and are continuing to decline in numbers (Newhouse and Kinley 2000). The availability and abundance of prey have been identified as primary factors limiting Badger populations, but there is a lack of knowledge on the ecology of these prey species in British Columbia. The purpose of this report is to help recovery of Badger populations by synthesizing information on Badger prey that will assist in censuring adequate prey for Badgers (Adams et al. 2003). The report synthesizes existing information on Badger prey ecology and its influence on Badger distribution, abundance, productivity, and survival. The ecology of six man prey species for Badgers in B.C. is reviewed: the Columbian Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus columbianus), Yellow-bellied Marmot (Marmota flaviventris), Northern Pocket Gopher (Thomomys talpoides), Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus), Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys gapperi), and Meadow Vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus). The distribution of prey affects the range of Badgers and especially their use of non-grassland habitats. Survival of Badgers may not be directly linked to lack of food but rather low prey availability. Decreased prey availability may lead to larger home range sizes, longer distance movements, and increased risk of mortality, especially on roads. Large home range sizes also may be leading to lower productivity of females by restricti?ng breeding, and ultimately limiting the abundance of Badgers. Future research should identify important prey species for Badgers locally and the influence these have on regulating populations. The effects of disturbance on prey abundance and its role on the use of non-grassland habitats by Badgers should also be explored. Finally, management techniques that promote habitat for prey are encouraged.
Hoodicoff, C.. 2006. Badger Prey Ecology: The Ecology of Six Small Mammals Found in British Columbia. Ministry of Environment. Wildlife Working Report. WR109