Today I came across this data map and table which I found very interesting. They both show wildlife incidents involving badgers during 2013 that were reported, but in different formats.
Just a couple of weeks back the cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset finished after the third year. In Dorset it was the first year of culls. If you look at all three of these areas, the numbers are very high. In fact if you compare the data to the map you will see that three out of six of the highest zones of reported badger incidents by county are in the West Country.
Many may interpret this data in different ways but for this short post I’m going to contrast this data with a report that I also read today. The report is about herd-level bovine tuberculosis risk factors and assessing the role of low-level badger population disturbance. This study was carried out by Queens University Belfast and found that badger persecution IS implicated as a risk factor which contributes to the persistence of Bovine TB hotspot.
Could there be a link between hunting, illegal sett interference (etc) and the persistently high incidence of bTB in the recent cull zones, of which are areas with high levels of persecution rates?