Monday, 3 June 2013

Anna Brown, from our MSc AABAW program wins UFAW scholarship prize.

Anna gives us a summary of her dissertation activities
My project aims to reduce negative welfare impacts upon wild beavers involved within monitoring research, conducted by Telemark University College, Norway, in collaboration with the Royal Zoological Society Scotland.
Upon capture, wild beavers are ear tagged allowing for individual identification. However, these tags have highly variable retention rates. Without ear tags beavers require re-capture in order to be re-tagged, which is known to have negative welfare impacts across many wild species.
Firstly I want to identify the retention rate of each of the two tag types used. Secondly, from filming ear tag applications and post-tagging behaviour in the field, any signs of tag irritation can be recorded.
How my project could help to improve animal welfare
1.       I shall hopefully be able to identify a tag type which is both durable and has a minimal effect upon the beavers’ natural behavioural repertoire. In addition, upon selection and increased usage of a durable tag type, the need for re-capture can be reduced. Researchers can also save time by not having to chase down un-tagged beavers!

2.       With the potential re-introduction of beavers into the UK being a hot topic at the moment, my study results may be of use if beavers will one day require identification within the UK.

3.       Whilst monitoring typically aims to benefit a species as whole, individual animal welfare is also of importance. I also hope that my study can raise awareness of this theme, as I think individual animal welfare is often compromised within monitoring research.
What I have enjoyed about carrying out my project
I have really enjoyed learning about a species I have never studied, or even seen before. They are fascinating animals and I have been lucky to receive the opportunity to study them in their natural habitat!

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