Yellowstone Badger: A Citizen Naturalist Project logo

Yellowstone Badger: A Citizen Naturalist Project

Project goals

Yellowstone Badger: A Citizen Naturalist Project seeks to:

  1. Recognize the observations made by citizen naturalist scientists including wildlife observers, photographers, and other Yellowstone National Park visitors.
  2. Create a venue for citizen naturalist scientists to contribute long-term data collection on Yellowstone badgers.
  3. Collect reports of badgers and accompanying data including date, time, location, and photographs made observers and to facilitate biological and ecological studies such as distribution and population numbers and trends of badgers.
  4. Create a dynamic and engaging educational tool for the general public and those studying wildlife by providing access to photos, distribution maps, literature, and research reports and papers.

Why your input matters

The charismatic megafauna such as bears and wolves draw the attention of Park visitors, managers, and researchers. Less is known about smaller carnivores because of their low population densities, sparse spacing, secretive habits and difficulty making observations. While lesser-known carnivores include marten, badgers, skunks, bobcats, lynx and others this project concentrates on badgers. Detailed studies of badgers are not available for Yellowstone National Park in part for the reasons mentioned.

The abundance of observers, supplemented by the emergence of quality digital image recorders and modern optics makes observations more common but to date little opportunity existed to collect observations. Now with the internet, we re able to undertake a dedicated and systematic effort to collect information. To understand badgers we need to be able to obtain, consolidate and analyze the plethora of hidden records. Using these record there are many questions that may be approached including for example:

  • What is the distribution of badgers in Yellowstone and what might their numbers be?
  • What is the reproductive history including number of females and young (called kits).
  • What are long-term population trends?
  • Do long-term trends respond to wildlife disease patterns?
  • What behaviors are observed?
  • What are types and rates of interactions with other species?

In addition to these scientific discoveries, we anticipate this site being a source of discovery and education for the public. An informed and invested public is the key to the success of conservation efforts throughout the region.