Article by Jonathan Coles for Somerset Live 13.7.2018
Campaigners warn badegers could become EXTINCT if cull is not stopped.
The heatwave has had a big impact on the population of the animal.
Wildlife groups are pleading with officials to call off this year’s badger cull – warning that the animal could become extinct if the slaughter continues as normal.
Members of the Badger Trust say excess losses could have a catastrophic impact on numbers as the population has already taken a big hit due to the prolonged heatwave.
Peter Martin, who recently retired as chairman of the Trust, said “We cannot know at this stage how many badgers have already died or are about to die.”
Many of them will have succumbed underground and we will need a full population count next year before we find out just how bad it has been.
“Many of the cubs and older badgers will not have enough time to build up the body weight to survive the winter, even if it starts raining again soon.”
Badgers tend to retreat further and further underground during dry weather, only emerging when the rain starts to fall.#
When this happens, badgers are then forced to compete for alternative food sources not only amongst themselves but also with many other creatures in their environment.
Mr Martin said this, added to the impending culls, could have serious consequences for the animal.
He said ” The problem is that the culls are also just starting.”
“The losses caused by this on top of the losses caused by the dry weather could have a catastrophic impact on badger numbers to the extent we could see local extinction in many areas of the country.
“It is not the government’s policy to wipe badgers out so they must halt culls before irreparable damage is done.”
“Badgers are a protected species and the UK is a signatory to the Bern Convention, which is designed to prevent any policy that would result in large scale extinctions.”
“The government is already subject to a High Court action by ecologist Tom Langton over its failure to adequately assess the ecological impact of culling badgers.”
A petition has been set up to lobby the government about the issue.