Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tripping up

'For Immediate Release, screamed a press release from the Badger Trust, demanding an immediate investigation into parts of a BBC Report programme.

But also in the document, as it splutters in indignation over the content of the Report's assertions, is this little gem:
The Trust is also challenging the BBC over an unattributed assertion in the programme that "since badgers became protected in the ‘70s the population has surged to an estimated 300,000".

The Badger Trust's David Williams said:
"The BBC must give the references for this figure. There has been no quantified estimate of population for 14 years. It must also quote any scientific basis for the clear implication that legal protection had caused a ‘surge’.

Now there seems to be a tad of confusion here. That BBC steal is a direct quote from the Badger Trust Factsheet, where this figure and the reason for it, is clearly stated. And so that there is no confusion, we will quote it.
"However the passing of the Badger Act 1973 (and consequent amendments 1981, 1991 and 1992) has helped badger numbers to recover and today they have a total estimated population of around 300,000.”
This estimate is however, quite wrong. What did you expect?

The answer to a Parliamentary Question asked in 2003, gave a figure of 350,000 in the mid 1990s. It is now 2011. But a survey by the Mammal Society (Wilson, Harris et al [ISBN 1 85580 018 7]) from 1988 - 97 and published by the People's Trust for Endangered Species, had logged a 77% increase in badger numbers in the previous decade.

We assume that that was the study referred to as '14 years ago' by the Badger Trust, but for obvious reasons, its content not elaborated on?

What a delicious little trip.

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