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Exclusions for resolving urban badger damage problems: outcomes and consequences

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Pete Robertson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


AbstractIncreasing urbanisation and growth of many wild animal populations can result in agreater frequency of human-wildlife conflicts. However, traditional lethal methods ofwildlife control are becoming less favoured than non-lethal approaches, particularlywhen problems involve charismatic species in urban areas. Eurasian badgers (Melesmeles) excavate subterranean burrow systems (setts), which can become large andcomplex. Larger setts within which breeding takes place and that are in constant useare known as main setts. Smaller, less frequently occupied setts may also exist withinthe social group’s range. When setts are excavated in urban environments they canundermine built structures and can limit or prevent safe use of the area by people. Themost common approach to resolving these problems in the UK is to exclude badgersfrom the problem sett, but exclusions suffer a variable success rate.We studied 32 lawful cases of badger exclusions using one-way gates throughoutEngland to evaluate conditions under which attempts to exclude badgers from theirsetts in urban environments were successful. We aimed to identify ways of modifyingpractices to improve the chances of success. Twenty of the 32 exclusion attempts weresuccessful, but success was significantly less likely if a main sett was involved and ifvegetation was not completely removed from the sett surface prior to exclusionattempts. We recommend that during exclusions all vegetation is removed from the site,regardless of what type of sett is involved, and that successful exclusion of badgersfrom a main sett might require substantially more effort than other types of sett.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ward A, Finney J, Beatham S, Delahay D, Robertson P, Cowan D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PeerJ

Year: 2016

Online publication date: 13/10/2016

Acceptance date: 18/09/2016

Date deposited: 13/10/2016

ISSN (electronic): 2167-8359

Publisher: PeerJ, Ltd.


DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2579


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