Badger survey of Northern Ireland 2007/08

Date published: 09 September 2008

This document is a survey of the badger population in Northern Ireland for 2007/2008. To date, two country-wide surveys have been completed to allow a fuller understanding of the number and distribution of the undisturbed badger population in NI.


The first survey was in 1994. The badger population in Northern Ireland was estimated in 1994 at 38,000 with a mean sett density of 3.51/km2. It was found that a high preponderance of setts occurs in hedgerows and it was postulated that this increases the proximity of badgers to cattle, and therefore, the potential for inter-species transmission Feore S.M. (1994) The distribution and abundance of the Badger Meles meles in Northern Ireland. PhD thesis. Queens University of Belfast.

The second survey was in 2007/2008. The badger population in NI during 2007/2008 is estimated at 33,500 animals in 7,500 social groups giving a mean estimated density of such groups as 0.56 per square kilometre. It was observed that there was a positive association between areas of improved grassland and arable agriculture, and cover. Density was correlated with land class, the highest densities found in drumlin farmland areas and marginal uplands. Due to the prevalence of favourable landscape features, Counties Down and Armagh had the highest density of badger social groups.

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