European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 333–344 | Cite as

How many Eurasian badgers Meles meles L. are there in the Republic of Ireland?

  • D. P. SleemanEmail author
  • J. Davenport
  • S. J. More
  • T. A. Clegg
  • J. D. Collins
  • S. W. Martin
  • D. H. Williams
  • J. M. Griffin
  • I. O’Boyle
Original Paper


In Ireland, the badger Meles meles L is a reservoir species for Mycobacterium bovis and, as such, contributes to the maintenance of bovine tuberculosis in cattle. A previous estimate of the badger population in the Republic was 200,000 badgers. In the current study, we obtained data on badger numbers from a large-scale badger removal project (the Four-Area project). The removal areas of the Four-Area Project were surrounded by barriers (either water or buffer areas where removals were also conducted) to prevent badger immigration. Within these areas, a grid of 0.25 km2 was created within which we knew the badger numbers and habitat types (based on Corine data). Associations between badger numbers and habitat type were investigated using negative binomial modeling. Extrapolations from the model yielded an estimated badger population in the Republic of approximately 84,000 badgers. The implications of these findings are discussed.


Bovine tuberculosis surveys Four area study Estimated abundance Extrapolations 



This investigation was part of a large and complex study funded by the Department of Agriculture and Food. We thank all those who took part in the project especially Daniel M. Collins and others at the Center for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, University College, Dublin. Bovine tuberculosis has been a major problem in rural Ireland for a long time and the herd owners, recognizing this, were especially helpful. The project would not have succeeded save for efforts by a large number of field and administrative staff of the Central or Regional Veterinary Research Laboratories and the Irish Equine Center. We also wish to thank Leigh Corner, Eamonn Gormley, Anthony Fitzgerald, Guy McGrath, and John Wilson for helpful input. The methods used in this investigation comply with current laws in the Republic of Ireland.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. P. Sleeman
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Davenport
    • 1
  • S. J. More
    • 2
  • T. A. Clegg
    • 2
  • J. D. Collins
    • 2
  • S. W. Martin
    • 2
  • D. H. Williams
    • 3
  • J. M. Griffin
    • 4
  • I. O’Boyle
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Ecology, and Plant ScienceUniversity CollegeCorkIreland
  2. 2.Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary MedicineUniversity CollegeDublinIreland
  3. 3.UCD School of Mathematical SciencesUniversity College DublinDublinIreland
  4. 4.Department of Agriculture and FoodAgriculture HouseDublinIreland
  5. 5.District Veterinary Office, Department of Agriculture and FoodThe GlenWaterfordIreland

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