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Reduction in badger cull numbers
10:24am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
THE estimated number of badgers in the Gloucestershire area has been drastically revised reducing the number that needs to be culled.
Defra said hair trappings collected before the start of the Gloucestershire cull, which included areas of Worcestershire and Herefordshire, showed numbers had decreased significantly since the last estimate was carried out.
The target number of badgers to be culled has reduced from between 2,856 and 2,932 badgers to 1,650.
It is now thought there are 2,350 badgers in the area rather than the previous estimate of 3,400.
The pilot badger cull in west Somerset is set to be extended by up to three weeks because fewer animals were killed than had been hoped.
Defra said Natural England was considering an extension to the cull to "maximise the disease control benefits".
According to reports, just 850 badgers have been shot in the area over the six-week trial, just over 40 per cent of an initial target of 2,081.
The aim was to kill 70 per cent of badgers in Gloucestershire and west Somerset by free shooting.
A Defra spokesman said: "Early indications suggest that the Somerset cull has been safe, humane and enough badgers have already been killed to help reduce bovine TB.
"Natural England is currently considering an application from the cull company for a short extension of two to three weeks so as to maximise the disease control benefits achieved this year."
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