Radio telemetry has greatly advanced the understanding of wild animal ecology. Telemetry studies must ensure that placement of transmitters does not influence the health and behavior of study animals. Here, 10 American badgers (Taxidea taxus) were implanted with beeswax-coated abdominal radio transmitters under general anesthesia and tracked for an average of 14 mo. Behavior and movements of all badgers indicated successful short-term recovery from implantation; however, three mortalities were observed between 5 mo and 15 mo after capture. Cause of death could not be determined for two badgers due to decomposition of the carcasses. A third badger that was recovered in good postmortem condition died from sepsis secondary to a transmitter-related omental torsion. This study indicates that there is some risk associated with abdominally implanted radio transmitters in badgers. Future studies involving implanted transmitters in mammals should focus on identifying safe and effective telemetry devices that do not affect the health of study animals.
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