Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question 493 - Answered on 17th February, 2004
Trevor Sargent: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of licences which have been issued by the national parks and wildlife service division of his Department under section 23(6) of the Wildlife Acts 1976 and 2000, specifically for the capture of humane killings of badgers for each of the 26 counties in each of the years from 1995 through to 2003.
Question 494 - Answered on 17th February, 2004
Trevor Sargent: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the estimated badger population; the total number and the number per square kilometre in each of the 26 counties for each of the years from 1995 through to 2003; and the confidence limits of the estimates.
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 493 and 494 together. My Department is responsible for the issue of licences under Section 23 of the Wildlife Acts 1976 and 2000 to the Department of Agriculture and Food to capture and humanely kill badgers as part of its continued research into bovine tuberculosis. The numbers of licences issued since 1995 are as follows:
My Department does not have to hand the breakdown of these figures per county; however this information is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.
The most recent survey of the badger population was carried out in 1995. The badger and habitat survey of Ireland was funded by the national parks and wildlife service and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. This report, estimated that there was a badger population of the order of 200,000 in Ireland. While no county or local breakdown of population numbers was provided, the report gives some statistics on regional variations in the density of badger social groups by county. The lowest densities were in several western and north-western counties and in Wicklow, these counties being generally distinguished by their large areas of upland, bog or moor. The six counties with the highest badger densities were all located in the broad midland zone, Kilkenny, Louth, Limerick, Meath, Offaly and Westmeath - counties with a relatively large proportion of quality grazing land. Three further counties, Carlow, Clare and Cork, had slightly lower densities. The lowest density was recorded from County Longford and the highest from County Kilkenny.
I am arranging for a copy of "The Badger and Habitat Survey of Ireland" to be forwarded to the Deputy and also for a copy to be placed in the Oireachtas Library.