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Badgers do have negative effect on hedgehog populations, new survey finds

PTES said badgers are what is known as ‘intra-guild predators’, meaning they predate hedgehogs but also compete with them for food resources.


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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Badgers do have negative effect on hedgehog populations, new survey finds

A high number of badgers in some areas does have a negative impact on hedgehogs, a new survey has found.

 

The report, titled ‘Reduced occupancy of hedgehogs in rural England and Wales: the influence of habitat and an asymmetric intra-guild predator’, said while the results did not dispute the correlation, the decrease in hedgehog populations was more ‘a result of agricultural intensification and climate change’.

 

It followed ‘The State of British Hedgehogs 2018’ report earlier this year which said hedgehog numbers in rural areas had halved due to intensive farming systems, ignoring industry evidence it was instead down to predation and competition for food by badgers.


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Of the 261 sites surveyed, hedgehogs were found at 55, of which badger setts were also present at almost half.

 

Researchers said a large proportion of land was unsuitable for both species to live in and the industry should be more concerned about the ‘much wider land management issue in our countryside affecting both species’.

Nida Al-Fulaif, People’s Trust for Endangered Species grants manager, said: “Badgers are what is known as ‘intra-guild predators’, meaning they predate hedgehogs but also compete with them for food resources.

 

“This naturally makes their relationship complex, which we already knew, but until now we did not realise the extent to which changes in the landscape were affecting both species.”

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