Thursday, November 26, 2015

Badger Boom in the UK

From The Telegraph:
The number of badger setts in England has more than doubled in the last 25 years, a new report has claimed, fuelling concerns over the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

Researchers believe the number of badger groups has risen by about 2.6 per cent each year for a quarter of a century. There are now an estimated 71,600 badger groups in England and Wales, up by 27,000 to 40,000 since the mid 1980s with the biggest change seen in England.

The number of badger setts has increased by 103 per cent in England while in Wales it has remained fairly constant, the team found.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Yes, this is what happens when you have an omnivore with no predators left except for humans and you give it a really very nice habitat to live in. It is also instructive to note how hedgehog numbers have plummeted in this same time-frame; badgers are one of the few predators capable of eating hedgehogs.

At the same time as this, we have seen bovine tuberculosis jump species from cattle into badger populations several times, and then co-evolve to live in badgers. As a result of this, and of the cessation of all licensed badger control, bovine tuberculosis has exploded to epidemic proportions.

As an aside here, in very old cultures of the vaccine strain of bovine TB, it has been observed that the vaccine strain can make endospores as it starts to run out of resources. If the wild-type also does this, then the odds are that when its host is dying, it starts to sporulate. In most animals this won't do all that much, as the spores will be killed by UV light.

When a badger feels ill, however, it always heads underground to try to sleep off the illness. In the case of a badger dying of tuberculosis, this means it will die underground, and will thus contaminate the ground with TB spores. It can therefore be said that many ancient badger setts are not just ancient badger homes, but ancient repositories of tuberculosis sickness.

Sooner or later the powers that be will get their heads around this, and around the fact that most animal rights activists have extremely loud voices and next to no brains behind the noise. Listening to morons is a pointless exercise.