Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Counting foxes before the last tally-ho

27.07.2004


As the government promises an imminent ban on hunting, researchers have produced the first scientifically-based population estimate for foxes living in Britain. Their results show that the number of foxes has remained constant despite changes in culling methods.

The study, published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology today and funded by the International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW), shows that at the end of winter there are 225,000 adult foxes living in rural Britain, with a further 33,000 in urban areas.

This study has provided baseline data against which the impact of a ban on hunting with dogs can be measured.



A team of scientists and volunteers led by Professor Stephen Harris, from the University of Bristol, counted fox faeces in more than 400 one-kilometre squares across Britain. This information was combined with estimates of the number of faeces a fox produces each day, and with the proportion of faeces that can be found during field surveys, to produce the final population numbers.

Previous attempts to estimate Britain’s fox population, using far less precise methods, gave a figure of 252,000 adult foxes in 1981 and 240,000 in 1995, compared to the new figure of 258,000 in 1999/2000. This suggests that, contrary to claims made by the hunting lobby, there has been no change in fox numbers over the past quarter of a century.

Professor Harris said: “This study found that fox numbers were more heavily influenced by habitat features than by the number of foxes killed by people. This suggests that there is no reason to expect fox numbers to rise when hunting is banned.”

By itself, the survey does not show whether fox numbers would increase if people stopped hunting them. However another study, funded by IFAW and the RSPCA and published in Nature, showed that there was no change in fox numbers when hunting was suspended for nearly a year during the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001.

IFAW campaigner Josey Sharrad, said: “This research demolishes arguments by the hunting lobby that foxes need to be killed to prevent a population explosision. It will also allow us to monitor the impact of a ban on this cruel sport.”

Gill Sanders | alfa
Further information:
http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org
http://www.ifaw.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Plant seeds survive machine washing - Dispersal of invasive plants with clothes
11.09.2018 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Air pollution leads to cardiovascular diseases
21.08.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern of sun-like stars for the first time

21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells

21.09.2018 | Life Sciences

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>