Overall, the polecat's range expanded eastwards at 4. This is faster than the pine marten's expansion, which is not unexpected; polecats have faster reproductive ability and greater flexibility in habitat requirements than pine martens Birks , There are various legal protections for carnivores in Great Britain Fig.
Protections that ban direct control and disturbance are likely to aid species recovery where these pressures were a cause of population decline.
A semi-aquatic Arctic mammalian carnivore from the Miocene epoch and origin of Pinnipedia.
Range expansions and population increases have occurred for some species notably otters, badgers, pine martens and polecats following the introduction of legal protection. While badger recovery in Great Britain has been coincident with legislation, badger populations elsewhere have not increased following legal protection. Habitat loss and fragmentation are major contributing factors to biodiversity loss and can be more significant for habitat specialists otters and pine martens than for generalists that are better able to exploit modified landscapes foxes, stoats, and weasels; Bright , Crawford To counter habitat loss, a series of international and national regulations aimed at protecting habitat extent and quality have been implemented over the last six decades, including the European Union's Habitats Directive and Water Framework Directive.
More generally, afforestation since the s, notably in Scotland, has provided additional, if not ideal, habitat for pine martens e. Even with the protected area network, a lack of connectivity, through fragmentation or via natural or anthropogenic barriers, may prevent dispersal.
Roads, urban areas, and large continuous tracts of other unfavourable habitat may act as physical barriers to recolonisation. Recolonisation of areas that require crossing of landscape barriers may therefore be possible, but the rate of expansion is likely to depend upon barrier size and landscape configuration. Agricultural intensification and its consequences for biodiversity are well documented e.
Range expansion and density increase have, in some carnivore species, been assisted by human intervention. Formal conservation translocations have been carried out for otters and pine martens. Other unofficial releases have been smaller in scale, e. The extent of, and survival rates of animals from, unofficial releases are unknown, but releases of sufficient scale can sometimes aid expansion.
Polecat populations derived from such releases are thriving in Cumbria but apparently dwindling in Argyll Fig.
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While some British carnivores are protected from unlicensed predator control, the trapping or shooting of foxes, stoats and weasels is not regulated in practice, other than to prevent cruelty. Land managers applying control must comply with welfare regulations and ensure that control is sufficiently discriminatory to avoid taking legally protected species. The potential for unintentional capture may be greatest in areas that are newly recolonised, as practices that were previously unproblematic may need to be adapted. For species with low reproductive rates, such as pine martens, any additional mortality might impede recovery.
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The current extent of any intentional or unintentional killing of protected carnivores is unclear. Collaboration between carnivore conservationists, farmers and managers of game estates and fisheries is required to find workable solutions for reducing conflicts with expanding carnivore populations. Predators are at particular risk from bioaccumulating and biomagnifying pollutants.
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- A semi-aquatic Arctic mammalian carnivore from the Miocene epoch and origin of Pinnipedia.!
The combined effect of dieldrin and PCBs on otters may have been analogous to how dieldrin acute mortality and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane DDT; eggshell thinning leading to reproductive failure caused catastrophic declines in predatory birds Ratcliffe , Newton Disease, both naturally occurring and in association with human intervention, can reduce carnivore populations directly. Other indirect consequences may arise from human intervention to control the risk of transmission of zoonoses or diseases of livestock.
Methods used to control bTB differ between the countries of Great Britain. Our aim was to compare and contrast the current status of Britain's mammalian carnivores and the anthropogenic processes that affect their populations. Overall, the outlook for British carnivores is more positive than in the account of decline drawn by Langley and Yalden Meanwhile, akin to pine martens and polecats, the formerly rare and restricted otter has recovered much of its former range and is increasing in density.
The recent apparent declines in rabbit records are a cause for concern, given the number of native carnivores that depend on them as food.
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Since the s there have been significant advances in our understanding of the anthropogenic processes that affect carnivore populations. We thank N. We thank E. Chadwick, P. Chanin, R. Halliwell, C. McLeod, S. Ratcliffe, R. Raynor and G. Scholey for advice and assistance with otter survey data. Changes in the ranges of wildcat Felis silvestris , European pine marten Martes martes and European polecat Mustela putorius.
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Recent population estimates for native mammalian carnivores in Great Britain. Population estimates are the combined totals for England, Scotland, and Wales unless otherwise stated. National distribution surveys of native mammalian carnivores in Great Britain, — National and international legislation providing protection for native mammalian carnivores in Great Britain.
Incidences of secondary exposure to contaminants in native British mammalian carnivores in Europe. Please note: The publisher is not responsible for the content or functionality of any supporting information supplied by the authors. Any queries other than missing content should be directed to the corresponding author for the article. Volume 49 , Issue 2. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username.
Mammal Review. Review Open Access. Katherine A. Sainsbury E-mail address: ks exeter. Richard F. Shore E-mail address: rfs ceh. Henry Schofield E-mail address: henryschofield vwt. Elizabeth Croose E-mail address: elizabethcroose vwt. Ruairidh D. Campbell E-mail address: Roo. Robbie A.
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Abstract After historical declines in population sizes and ranges, we compare and contrast the recent history and contemporary variation in the status of Great Britain's eight native mammalian carnivore species from the s to Figure 1 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint.
Wildcat Felis silvestris distribution in Scotland from to Black circles indicate presence. All presence points were scaled to hectads. Figure 2 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Gamebags are indices of the numbers killed per unit area on game estates. Index values are relative to the start year, which has an arbitrary value of 1. Figure 3 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint.
European otter Lutra lutra distribution in Great Britain from to Grey circles indicate surveyed areas where otters were recorded as absent.