Badgers are also killed by being involved in road traffic accidents.
It is thought that up to 50,000 badgers are killed every year by
traffic on Britain's roads and railways.
The peak time for badgers being killed on the roads is in late-spring
and the summer. This is because there are more Cubs about at this time
of year and badgers are having to travel further for food.
Road users can help by taking care when driving - especially in areas
where badgers have been seen before. Warning Signs for drivers can help,
as can badger-proof Fencing along roadsides; and environmental management
to keep them off the roads. One example is allowing worm-rich pasture on
the sett-side of the roadway or railway (a badger will tend not to
travel as far if there isa very good food source on its doorstep).
It is also possible to construct special Badger Tunnels under
New Roads - although this is most often done where hitting a badger might
cause human injury or where there is a big badger population.
Badger tunnels have been constructed under the M5 motorway in
Somerset. Although it did take the badger a few years to use it, that
tunnel is now saving badgers' lives (and reducing car accidents on the
A much better idea is the use of Wildlife Bridges
- as these provide natural, wide, green walkways over roads and railways
which are suitable for all animals; and avoid the risks of flooding by
rainwater or salt- or foul-water run-off or pollution from the road surface.
Also, some badgers are killed by being hit or electrocuted on Railway lines. However, railway
lines tend to be better managed for wildlife than before - especially as
allowing badgers to dig under a railway line or in an embankment can
Despite the high number of accidents, badger populations in some
areas still remain high.
Risks to People
Hitting a badger with a motorbike can mean that the rider is
seriously injured or killed.
Hitting a badger at high speed (for example on a motorway) can cause
the driver of a vehicle to lose control, potentially resulting in a
serious traffic accident.
It is an order of magnitude cheaper to build a wildlife tunnel under
a new road, before the new road is built, than when the road has been
completed. For details of how to build wildlife tunnels, please contact
a Badger Consultant.
For some ideas on how to help badgers cross busy roads and railways,
look at our Badger Tunnels page.
|Biological Conservation Volume 86, Issue 2,
November 1998, Pages 117-124 - Received 8 August 1997; revised 9 January
1998; accepted 14 January 1998
|Effects of roads on badger Meles meles populations
in south-west England
|G. Philip Clarkea, Piran C. L. Whitea, * and
a Environment Department, University of York, Heslington, York YO1 5DD,
b School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road,
Bristol BS8 1UG, UK
|Roads have two major impacts on the landscape with
respect to badger populations:
|(1) the imposition of barriers that reduce or
prevent dispersal, and
|(2) the increased mortality caused by road traffic.
|Road traffic is the largest single cause of
recorded death for badgers Meles meles in Britain.
|We used data collected by the Ministry of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food during the mid-1980s to quantify the
effects of roads on badger populations in south-west England. The
probability of badger fatalities per km were expressed as ratios of the
number of road deaths per unit length of road for different classes of
roads. The relationship between badger road deaths and traffic load
appeared to be asymptotic. Despite large differences in traffic load and
traffic flow on motorways, dual carriageways, class A and class B roads,
they all had similar rates of badger fatalities per unit length of road,
which were approximately six times greater than that for class C roads.
These results suggest that high traffic loads may discourage badgers
from attempting to cross major roads, and that these may therefore
reduce movements between adjacent groups. Traffic levels on Britain's
roads have already increased by 26% since these data were collected. As
traffic loads increase further in the next century, the mortality and
fragmentation effects of roads on badger populations locally are likely
to become increasingly significant.
Journal of Zoology Volume 211 Issue 3, Pages 525 -
529 - Accepted 10 June 1986
Seasonal distribution of road kills in the European
badger (Meles meles)
J. M. DAVIES 1 , T. J. ROPER 1 and D. J. SHEPHERDSON
1 1 School of Biology, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QG, UK
Copyright 1987 The Zoological Society of London
Data from 984 road-killed badgers collected in the
south of England during 1984 show a bimodal distribution in mortality
for both sexes, with peaks in mortality occurring in spring and late
summer. There was no significant difference between the total number of
males and females killed, and no difference in the seasonal distribution
of deaths between the two sexes. Nor was there evidence that dispersal
of young animals contributes to either of the seasonal peaks in
mortality. We suggest that the seasonal peaks in mortality reflect
increased activity in conjunction with mating.
Road-kills of badgers (Meles meles) in Denmark
Annales Zoologici Fennici [ANN. ZOOL. FENN.]. Vol.
32, no. 1, pp. 31-36. 1995.
The first major survey of road-killed animals in
Denmark, conducted in 1991, showed that more than 3 600 badgers Meles
meles, equal to 10-15% of the total population, had been killed. Most
badgers were killed during the summer when traffic intensity was
highest. The traffic-victims were very unevenly distributed across the
country. This is not explained by differences in local traffic
intensities alone, but also by differences in population density of the
badger and the surroundings of the roads. Almost all road-killed badgers
in 1992-93 were adult, and female badgers were killed most frequently
during spring whereas male badgers were killed throughout the year.