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Professor Richard (Dez) Delahay

National Wildlife Management Centre
Animal & Plant Health Agency
Sand Hutton
YO41 1LZ
Telephone 01453 861400/07786 186885
E-mail dez.delahay@apha.gsi.gov.uk


  • Established track record of research and publication in wildlife ecology, specialising in the epidemiology and management of infectious disease in wildlife.
  • 114 peer-reviewed publications.
  • Successful record of securing high levels of science funding.
  • Established record of provision of policy advice to government departments.
  • History of successful collaborative research with government agencies and academic partners.
  • Successful science communicator with regular contributions to national and international meetings.

Professional experience

1996–present. Senior Scientist, National Wildlife Management Centre, Animal & Plant Health Agency.

  • Science lead on research related to epidemiology and management of TB in badgers
  • Principal current areas of research interest include:
    • Host behaviour and the epidemiology and management of TB in wildlife
    • Optimal deployment of field diagnostics for TB
    • Responses of wildlife populations to disease management interventions
    • Vaccination as a strategy for the control of TB in badgers
    • Whole genome sequencing of Mycobacterium bovis in badger populations
    • Energetics of TB infection in badgers
  • Provision of advice to Ministers and senior officials in Defra and devolved administrations
  • Home Office project licence and Natural England licence holder

1995–1996. Post-doctoral research assistant, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (ITE).

  • Field investigations of red and grey squirrel distribution
  • Ecology and epidemiology of helminth parasitism in free-living domestic, feral and wild cats

1995. Scientific Officer, Forestry Authority & ITE.

  • Reproductive biology of Sika deer

1994–1995. Assistant Scientific Officer, ITE.

  • Ecology and management of uplands for red grouse


  • PhD. 1995 The epidemiology and pathology of threadworm infections in red grouse. Aberdeen University.
  • BSc. 1990 (1st Class Hons.) Environmental Science. Plymouth University

Positions held

2012-present Honorary visiting Professor, University of Exeter.
2012-present  Visiting lecturer and member of expert panel, ANTIGONE European network on global epidemics
2011-present  Visiting scientist, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
2007-present  Visiting lecturer, Wildlife Health MSc, Royal Veterinary College
2007–present  Honorary Fellow, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Liverpool University
2005-present Member of Editorial Board, Mammal Review 
2005-2010  Visiting lecturer, Wildlife Biology Diploma, Bristol University
2004-present  Member of Defra Vaccine Programmes Advisory Group
2003-2009 Member of Board of European Wildlife Disease Association (EWDA)
2008 Member of scientific & organising committees, EWDA conference, Croatia
2007 Principal organiser, Wildlife Disease Ecology & Management conference, York

PhD students

Clare Benton Spatio-temporal dynamics of TB infection in badgers (Exeter University)
Beatrice Downing Social networks and disease management in birds (Exeter University)
Chris Beirne (2015) Senescence in a badger population (Exeter University)
Neil Walker (2014) Statistical models of TB infection in badgers (Bristol University)
David McClune (2014) Energetics, behaviour and disease in badgers (Queens University, Belfast)
Andrew Robertson  (2012) Evolutionary ecology of foraging in a social mammal (Exeter University)
Alex Tomlinson (2012) Life-history correlates of TB infection in badgers (Liverpool University)
John Davison (2007) Ecology of urban badgers (University of Sussex)
Bryony Tolhurst  (2006) Badger behaviour and TB transmission (University of Sussex)
Richard Young  (2005) Intra-guild predation in mammal populations (University of Southampton)
Tim Hounsome (2005) Impact of badgers on ground nesting birds (Aberdeen University)
Ben Garnett  (2002) Behavioural aspects of TB infection in badgers (University of Sussex)

Selected relevant publications (2007+)

Delahay, R. J., Smith, G. C. & Hutchings, M. R. (2008). Management of Disease in Wild Mammals. Springer Tokyo. pp284.

Robertson, A., McDonald, R. A., Delahay, R. J., Kelly, S. & Bearhop, S. (2014). Individual foraging specialisation in a social mammal: the European badger (Meles meles). Oecologia doi 10.1007/s00442-014-3019-2.

Trewby, I. D., […] & Delahay, R. J. (2014). Impacts of removing badgers on localised counts of hedgehogs. PLoS ONE 9 (4), e95477. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095477.

Gortazar, C., […], Delahay, R. J., et al. (2014). Crossing the Interspecies Barrier: Opening the Door to Zoonotic Pathogens. PLoS Pathogens 10(6), e1004129.

McDonald, J. L., Smith, G. C., McDonald, R. A., Delahay, R. J. & Hodgson, D. (2014). Mortality trajectory analysis reveals the drivers of sex-specific epidemiology in natural wildlife-disease interactions. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B.281:20140526.

Beirne, C., Delahay, R., Hares, M. & Young, A. (2014). Age-related declines and disease-associated variation in immune cell telomere length in a wild mammal. PLoS ONE 9(9): e108964. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108964.

Tomlinson, A. J., […], Delahay, R. J., et al. (2013). Heterogeneity in the risk of Mycobacterium bovis infection in European badger (Meles meles) cubs. Epidemiology & Infection 141, 1458-1466. doi: 10.1017/S095026881300040X.

Drewe, J. A., […], Delahay, R. J., et al. (2013). Patterns of direct and indirect contact among cattle and badgers naturally infected with tuberculosis: heterogeneity in individual behaviour and tuberculosis transmission risks. Epidemiology & Infection 141, 1467-1475. doi: 10.1017/S0950268813000691.

Delahay, R. J. et al. (2013). Long-term temporal trends and estimated transmission rates for Mycobacterium bovis infection in an undisturbed high density badger (Meles meles) population. Epidemiology & Infection 141, 1445–1456. doi:10.1017/S0950268813000721

Weber, N., Carter, S. P., Dall, S. R. X., Delahay, R. J., McDonald, J. L., Bearhop, S. & McDonald, R. A. (2013). Badger social networks correlate with tuberculosis infection. Current Biology 23(20), R1-R2.

Judge, J., Wilson, G. J., Macarthur, R., Delahay, R. J. & McDonald, R. A. (2013). Density and abundance of badger social groups in England and Wales in 2011-2013. Scientific Reports 4, 3809. doi: 10.1038/srep03809.

Graham, J., Smith, G., Delahay, R. J., Bailey, T.C., McDonald, R. & Hodgson, D. (2013). Multistate modelling reveals sex-dependent transmission progression and severity of tuberculosis in wild badgers. Epidemiology & Infection 141, 1429-1436.

Weber, N., […], Delahay, R. J., et al. (2013). Denning behaviour in the European badger (Meles meles) correlates with bovine tuberculosis infection status. Behavioural Ecology & Sociobiology 67, 471–479.

Balseiro, A., […], Delahay, R. J., et al. (2013). Spatial relationships between Eurasian badgers (Meles meles) and cattle infected with Mycobacterium bovis in Northern Spain. Veterinary Microbiology 197(3), 739-745. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.03.017.

Carter, S.P., […] Delahay, R.J., et al. (2012) BCG vaccination reduces risk of tuberculosis infection in vaccinated badgers and unvaccinated badger cubs. PLOS ONE. 7: e49833.

Gortázar, C., Delahay, R., McDonald, R., Boadella, M., Wilson, G., Gavier-Widen, D. & Acevedo, P. (2012). The status of tuberculosis in European wildlife. Mammal Review 42, 193-206.

Mill, A. C., […] Delahay, R. J. & McDonald, R. A. (2012). Farm-scale risk factors for bovine tuberculosis incidence in cattle herds during the Randomised Badger Culling Trial. Epidemiology & Infection 140, 219-230.

Drewe, J. A., […] & Delahay, R. J. (2012). Performance of proximity loggers in recording intra- and inter-species interactions: a laboratory and field-based validation study. PLOS ONE. 7: e39068.

Jenkins, H. E., Cox, D. R. & Delahay, R. J. (2012). Direction of association between bite wounds and Mycobacterium bovis infection in badgers: implications for transmission. PLOS ONE 7, e45584.

Palphramand, K. L., Walker, N., McDonald, R. A. & Delahay, R. J. (2011). Evaluating seasonal bait delivery to badgers using rhodamine B. European Journal of Wildlife Research 57(1), 35-43.

Travis, E. R., […] Delahay, R. J., et al. (2011). An Inter-laboratory Validation of a Real Time PCR assay to measure host excretion of bacterial pathogens. PLOS ONE 6: e27369.

Riordan, P., Delahay, R.J., et al. (2011). Culling-induced changes in badger (Meles meles) behaviour, social organisation and the epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis. PLOS ONE 6: e28904.

Drewe, J. A., Tomlinson, A., Walker, N. J. & Delahay, R. J. (2010). Diagnostic accuracy and optimal use of three tests for tuberculosis in live badgers. PLOS ONE 5: e11196.

Chambers, M. A., Rogers, F., Delahay, R. J., et al. (2010). Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination reduces the severity and progression of tuberculosis in badgers. Proceedings of the Royal Society. B. 278, 1913-1920. doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.1953

Delahay, R. J., et al. (2007). Bovine tuberculosis infection in wild mammals in South West England: A survey of prevalence and a semi-quantitative assessment of the relative risks to cattle. Veterinary Journal 173(2), 287-301.

Vicente, J., Delahay, R. J., Walker, N. & Cheeseman, C. L. (2007). Social organization and movement influence the incidence of bovine tuberculosis in an undisturbed high density badger Meles meles population. Journal of Animal Ecology 76, 348-360.

Carter, S. P., Delahay, R. J., et al. (2007). Culling-induced social perturbation in Eurasian badgers Meles meles and the management of TB in cattle: an analysis of a critical problem in applied ecology. Proceedings of the Royal Society (Series B) 274, 2769-2777.

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