Predicting European badger Meles meles sett distribution in urban environments

Huck, Maren, Davison, John and Roper, Timothy J (2008) Predicting European badger Meles meles sett distribution in urban environments. Wildlife Biology, 14 (2). pp. 188-198. ISSN 0909-6396

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Abstract

Natural England receives an increasing number of complaints about problems caused by badgers Meles meles in urban and suburban environments, most of which concern problems caused by the digging of burrows (setts). The aim of our study was to identify factors related to the presence of badger setts in urban and suburban areas, in order to provide information relevant to the development of an urban badger management strategy. We identified habitat factors (including human population density) associated with the presence of badger setts in four extensively surveyed towns or cities in England, in a GIS-based approach using binary logistic regression analysis. Badger sett densities in urban areas were comparable to sett densities in most rural parts of the UK. Thus, badgers can achieve relatively high population densities in urban environments, despite the potential for human-badger conflict. The single most important factor predicting sett location was the type of habitat in which the sett in question was located, followed by the slope of the ground at that location. Sett presence was also predicted by the proximity of other setts, and badgers preferred areas with intermediate human population densities. The population density of badgers in urban and suburban environments appears to be mainly related to the availability of suitable places for locating setts, rather than to factors that would be expected to reflect food availability. This information will help to predict potential sites of badger-related problems and may be relevant to understanding the ecological requirements of other carnivore species that inhabit urban environments, such as red fox Vulpes vulpes, stone marten Martes foina and racoon Procyon lotor.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Biology and Environmental Science
Depositing User: John Davison
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:35
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2012 15:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26788
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