Badgers &

Submit Sightings | Mortalities

Highways are the leading cause of badger mortality in British Columbia

Road mortality is at its highest during July, when road traffic peaks and male badgers are searching widely for mates

Highway mortality has been shown to be the most significant source of loss in badger populations in the Thompson Valley. In this area, almost half of the radio-tagged badgers monitored in a recent study died while trying to cross highways or railways; 46% (6 of 13) badgers radio-tagged from 1999-2002 were killed on highways (Weir et al. 2003). An additional 13 untagged badgers were reported road-killed during this period and numerous reports of narrow escapes also exist. Highway mortalities do not appear to be age related; both adults and young have been killed (Weir and Hoodicoff 2002). Considering that the population of badgers in this region is estimated to be between 30 and 50 animals, this source of mortality likely has severe implications for population persistence. In fact, the National Recovery Strategy for the North American Badger, jeffersonii subspecies has listed “reducing highway mortality”, as a primary short-term recovery objective.

Why are badgers at such high risk for roadkill?

The difficulty that badgers face is that their home ranges, while mostly based in grassland habitats, are very large and often straddle major transportation corridors. In their normal day-to-day movements throughout their 20 – 50 km² home ranges, they are forced to cross these roads and railways, which pose a major mortality risk to the individual badgers. The following graphic shows the locations of 17 documented road mortality of badgers in the Thompson region between 1998 and 2002. The most concerning stretch of road is the TransCanada Highway between Lafarge exit and Pritchard. No fewer than 7 badgers were killed on this section of road between 1999 and 2003, including a female that had recently given birth to a kit. 

Cross-Jurisdictional Multidisciplinary Highway Mitigation Team

Like all great things (including ecosystems), our team is made stronger by diversity! We are a team made up of badger biologists, herpetofauna biologists, engineers, regional highway managers, highway contractors, program coordinators, and SAR implementation specialists.

What Are We Working on in 2022 at Badger Mortality Hotspots?

Cariboo Region 2022 - Badger Highway Mitigation Program
ONGOING: Passability Assessments and Culvert Monitoring
Thompson Okanagan Region 2022 - Badger MULTISAR Pilot Highway Mitigation Program
ONGOING: Passability Assessments and Culvert Monitoring
Kootenay Boundary Region 2022 - Badger Highway Mitigation Program
ONGOING: Prioritizing Road Mortality Hotspots
Gaps allow animals to escape the road surface.

Concrete Road Barriers

Concrete road barriers (CRB’s) may be a significant factor in badger highway mortality. Numerous reports have documented badgers running down the roadside trying to exit the highway surface and unable to do so because of the high concrete barriers (Weir and Hoodicoff 2002). Whereas badgers are capable of climbing barriers, their natural instincts when threatened are to dig, which they cannot do on paved roads. Allowing badgers to exit the road surface through holes in the CRB may be one way to help reduce road mortality.