Saturday, December 10, 2011

1, 2, 3, 4 ... Brocks.

Still in the spirit of our Happy Brocklemas posting below we see from the Defra website that dear old FERA (Food Food and Environment Research Agency (UK)) have a received an early Christmas present in the form of a new project to keep them in the manner to which they have become accustomed handbags for the next couple of years.

Known as SE 3129, an estimated £870,984 will be spent enabling FERA to count badgers in 1700 x 1 km squares. They explain:
"Obtaining an up-to-date estimate of the current size of the badger population will help inform policy on badgers and will assist the UK in addressing its obligations under the Bern Convention. The last National Badger Survey of Great Britain was completed in 1997 and was a follow-up to the original survey carried out in the mid 1980s. The 1990s survey revealed that badger numbers had increased substantially in the intervening decade."
Although the Defra report appears somewhat reluctant to put a figure on that increase, members of the Mammal Society who carried out that survey revealed an increase in population of 77 percent in the decade to 1997. (Ref: "Changes in the British badger population, 1988 to 1997" (1997). G. Wilson, S. Harris and G. McLaren. People's Trust for Endangered Species (ISBN 1 85580 018 7))

The objective of the new study will be:
1. To conduct a repeat field survey of badger setts in approximately 1700 1km squares that were surveyed in the 1980s and 90s
2. To produce estimates of the number of badger social groups in 2011-2013
3. To assess change in the number of social groups since the 1980s and the 1990s, if any
4. To produce estimates of the badger population of England and Wales, and of the UK.
5. To build and make accessible a GIS for the estimation of badger populations at a regional scale
The Project will run from 2011 - 2013 with taxpayers coughing up £870,984 to fund it. Most of us trying to farm cattle, would say there are too many badgers (and thus a paucity of hedgehogs and ground nesting birds) and suggest that unless the badgers are sitting on each others' shoulders, density of the 1700 original 1 km squares may be similar, but their occupants are likely to have spread out a tad ?

And keeping within the spirit of Christmas Brocklemas, we wonder, will this poor old chap be counted ?

No comments: