Sett density as an estimator of population density in the European badger Meles meles

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ABSTRACT

  • 1Estimations of European badger population density in the UK are usually based on surveys of numbers of main setts. However, this approach cannot be used in low-density areas, such as the Mediterranean region, where no main setts can be defined. Therefore, an alternative method is needed to estimate badger density over large areas.
  • 2We reviewed the existing published information to evaluate whether badger density is correlated to the density of all setts in an area (not only the main setts) and to ask whether badger density can be predicted from total sett number throughout the geographical range of the species.
  • 3In multiple regression analysis, badger density and the size of the study area explained 73% of the variance in sett density. Badger density had a significant positive effect on sett density, while the effect of study area size was not significant. Therefore, total sett density can be used to obtain an estimation of relative badger density in all habitats and regions throughout the badger's geographical range, allowing comparative research.

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