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Trace metals and PCBs in the badger in The Netherlands



The Science of The Total Environment - Volume 222, Issues 1-2 , 15 October 1998, Pages 107-118


N. W. Van den Brink and W. C. Ma
Institute for Forestry and Nature Research (IBN-DLO), P.O. Box 23, NL 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands


In The Netherlands the badger is presently recovering from earlier declines in numbers. The rate of recovery, however, varies between regions. It is argued that the effects of traffic accidents cannot account for the differences in recovery between regions. It is further shown that the population recovery is relatively poor in areas with high cadmium and zinc concentrations, such as near rivers. It is suggested that cadmium has an adverse effect on reproduction and that this effect is amplified by the social structure of the badger family. While traffic has a severe impact on the total population, trace metals may affect populations locally. Contrary to cadmium and zinc, lead and copper concentrations are decreasing with time. PCBs are generally not above critical levels, although there are some local exceptions, which may be related to fluctuations in physiological condition of individual badgers.


European badger Meles meles; Trace metals; PCBs; Reproduction implications; Population trends.

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