Media Contacts:  
Stacina Stagner, Forest Preserves of Cook County        Sondra Katzen, Chicago Zoological Society
708-771-1159 (office), 312-882-7939 (cell)                     708-688-8351 (office), 708-903-2071 (cell)
Stacina.Stagner@cookcountyil.gov                               sondra.katzen@czs.org
 
Photos of the Illinois badger are available below:
Photo Credits
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For Immediate Release                                                                         March 24, 2016
 
Forest Preserves of Cook County, Chicago Zoological Society to study habits of the Illinois badger
 
With their night-time travel habits and proximity to the ground, badgers are often hard to spot, which makes studying this predator a complicated endeavor.
 
“This is a very under-studied animal,” said Chris Anchor, senior wildlife biologist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. “Once you realize the animal is in the area, they have generally already moved on. However, the information we could learn from a badger is indispensable.”
 
Wildlife biologists were able to catch a badger near northwest Cook County, and the Forest Preserves and Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which operates Brookfield Zoo, have once again collaborated to study the animal’s health, behavior and habits.
 
“We are very happy to once again work with the wildlife biologists from the Forest Preserves of Cook County as part of our collaborative efforts to learn more about the health of Illinois wildlife,” said Jennifer Langan, DVM, Dipl. ACZM, Dipl. ECZM, senior staff veterinarian for the Chicago Zoological Society and clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois. “This is a very unique and exciting opportunity as these animals are rarely handled or even seen in Illinois.”
 
CZS veterinarians surgically implanted a transmitter in the animal, allowing wildlife biologists to track where the animal moves, how it uses its habitat and where it feeds. Additionally, veterinarians collected samples as part of a thorough health assessment and for long-term disease investigation. This information will provide valuable data to characterize the health of badger populations and investigate new diseases that may threaten the conservation of this unique carnivore in our part of the state.
 
Within the implanted transmitter is a coiled antennae that emits a specific signal. Using a directional antennae to pick up the signals, a process called triangulation, researchers will be able to track and learn how the badger is interacting with and surviving in its environment.
 
“Badgers are an apex predator, and they expose themselves to many other types of animals, either directly or indirectly. Because of this, badgers are great bio monitors and will be able to help us learn what they are naturally exposed to,” explained Anchor.
 
Because badgers are an apex predator, their presence is an indication of the health of various habitats in Cook County. By understanding the badger’s habits, researchers will be able to better identify how conservation and restoration efforts can continue to benefit the health of badgers and the biodiversity of all wildlife and humans.
 
“There is so little information known about badgers, especially badgers in an urban setting,” said Anchor. “Just about all of the information we’re going gain from this study is going to be novel and helpful for conservation efforts.” 

For more information on the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visit www.fpdcc.com

MEDIA CONTACT:

Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071
E-mail: Sondra.Katzen@CZS.org

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