Tuesday, 23 October 2012

New hope for badgers as number estimates quadruple

Another blow for badger killing plans - Numbers of badgers living in targeted zones has quadrupled October 2012. New official estimates of the badger populations in the two areas selected for killing have almost quadrupled. They are now 3,600 for Gloucestershire and 4,300 for Somerset, almost double those expected.

Would mean 60-70 badgers need to be killed every night
A year ago Parliament was given an estimate of between 1,000 and 1,500 per 150 sq km area as a total over four years. The new figures indicate that the 70% minimum number of badgers to be killed in six weeks will be 2,520 and 3,010 in the two areas, a grand total of 5,530. The marksmen would have to kill at least 60 or 72 respectively on every night throughout the six weeks despite stringent restrictions on their methods.

David Williams, chairman of the Badger Trust, said: "Can David Heath, the farming minister, explain how he gave estimates of between 500 and 800 badgers in each of the pilot areas only last Friday on the BBC Today programme? This massive discrepancy means that free shooting, if it comes about, will be significantly more difficult. It will also be harder to achieve the necessary minimum of 70 per cent killed as demanded by Defra. If they kill too few, which is now even more likely, they will fail to achieve the benefit they strive for. Alternatively, if they kill too many they risk local extinction and a breach of the Bern Convention".

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