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So important to get the facts about rural ecology correct

Readers' letters | Published:

It is no more true to say that badgers are the cause of the decline in hedgehogs, or curlew, than it is to claim that the earth is flat, or that hedgehogs are the cause of the decline in toads (a favourite prey species of theirs).

Peer reviewed, objective science has repeatedly demonstrated the truth about each falsehood. Oh and ivy doesn’t kill trees.

So it’s simply not good enough for Mr Kerswell to continue to peddle such lies, even though I am sure he does so in good faith.

Native species have evolved to co-exist in balance for thousands of years, and the human race wasn’t big enough or widely enough spread to have any significant impact on populations of our present variety of species until the start of the 19th century, despite deliberately wiping out our last large predator in the 16th century.

In the intervening centuries, our remaining species like badgers, foxes, raptors, otters, birds and hedgehogs did very well maintaining sustainable and balanced populations through a mechanism called ‘ecology’.

Just as they still do in nature reserves, in almost intact ecosystems (Mr Hughes). Go look.

What some large estates did and do prove is that by intensively ‘farming’ temporarily preferred species such as (introduced) game birds, is that they are experts in all but wiping out everything else. It is less than 100 years ago that estates large and small paid squirrel men a bounty on every red squirrel they killed because red squirrels eat birds’ eggs.

And only a little longer since there was a similar bounty on ‘urchins’, or hedgehogs as we now know them, killed in their tens of thousands because they were thought to eat grain (err, they don’t).

A 100 years ago, there was too little understood about ecology so people acted out of understandable ignorance: no need to keep doing it, let alone advocating it in the press.

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Rosie Wood, Bishop’s Castle

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