Lutra 51(2)_Vink et al_2008

Defragmentation measures and the increase of a local European badger (Meles meles) population at Eindegooi, the Netherlands

Twenty four years’ data on European badger (Meles meles) and sett numbers have been collected by direct observation of a local population at Eindegooi, which straddles the Dutch provinces of Utrecht and Noord- Holland. The population has shown periods of both slow and exponential growth and spatial dynamics show colonization of the entire study area. Analysis of how population dynamics respond to defragmentation measures involving roads has been undertaken. This suggests that tunnels and other measures make a positive contribution. At low densities and during periods of slow growth these measures can increase the lifetime of reproducing individuals and help badgers to safely disperse and colonize new habitat patches. Their positive effect on the population is illustrated by the fact that an individual’s mortality risk from traffic has remained more or less constant, despite the increasing number of cars on motorways and provincial roads that dissect the study area.