Independent article (it was ‘drawn to my attention’, but I don’t remember who by, sorry), gives an idea of the extent of the decline and mentions some possible, indeed probable, reasons for it. The article it links to in jstor describes a revealing and high resolution inverse correlation between badger sett density and hedgehog presence (in different areas of Oxfordshire). Not damning, but worthy of consideration.
Many people would consider this to be just another little piece of information about our little island, but in England everyone has to have an opinion about everything. In the comments we find badger-haters, badger-lovers, people who think they’re on a different thread, people who blame their particular political bugbear for the continued existence of badgers/hedgehogs, people who see the writer as part of a government conspiracy, and those who just think he’s an idiot (he isn’t, although the only intelligent comment I read does point out, correctly, that TB is not spread by a virus).
The jstor article is much more difficult for the media butterflies to criticise. It doesn’t claim that it’s all the badgers’ fault, it just observes, and advances interpretation of the findings. Which is what science is supposed to do, often at the cost of not saying very much at all.
Your blogging hedgehog is from North Africa, and knows little of these badgers that so terrorize my European cousins. Back home there are several snakes we have to look out for, as they can unroll us like the badger, and there are a couple of very nasty cat-like things that can just crunch through spines and everything. But not badgers as such. So I have nothing in principle against the creatures.
My bipedal co-blogger remarks that he was brought up in South-East England which is supposed to be full of badgers, but he never saw one. They remain, for him, creatures of myth and fairy-tale, bounteous beings that bring fortune to those who encounter them. Not to me, of course, but I hope I never will.
Denys Johnson-Davies, RIP.
4 hours ago