Warmer winters lead to badger boom
Daily Telegraph - 12th September 2000
By Roger Highfield, David
Derbyshire and Robert Uhlig
BADGER populations are rising in
Britain after a succession of mild winters and tougher laws on
A 20-year woodland study by Oxford
University scientists found a strong link between warmer Januarys
and a rise in badger numbers. In the Wytham Woods near Oxford,
populations rose from around 70 in the early Eighties to around
270 in the late Nineties, Dr Francoise Tattersall said.
"In years with milder
Januarys, badgers were also heavier. When it's mild, earthworms
are more available because the soil is soft." The study also
found that dry summers led to an increase in the number of cubs
dying. Without rain, earthworms retreat deep into the soil and are
hard to dig out.
Badgers have also benefited from
tougher legislation introduced in the Nineties against baiting and
the destruction of their setts.