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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Avoidance feeding behaviour in European badger Meles meles following application of food-based chemicals to pelleted food, Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire, England

Published source details

Baker S.E., Ellwood S.A., Watkins R., & Macdonald D.W. (2005) Non-lethal control of wildlife: using chemical repellents as feeding deterrents for the European badger Meles meles. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 921-931


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use repellents that taste bad (‘contact repellents’) to deter crop or property damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A controlled, before-and-after study in 1996 in a woodland in Oxfordshire, UK (Baker et al. 2005) found that European badgers Meles meles ate less food treated with the repellent, ziram, than untreated food, but cinnamamide and capsaicin treatments did not affect consumption rates. Badgers consumed 31–100% of ziran-treated bait over the first eight treatment nights, 0–10% over the ninth to sixteenth treatment nights and 0–3% from the seventeenth to twenty-eighth treatment nights. All untreated baits, and baits treated with cinnamamide and capsaicin, were consumed throughout the trial. A hexagon of paving slabs, each separated into four quadrants, was established. Each quadrant was supplied nightly with 20 g of Beta Puppy 1–6 months™ pelleted food. Untreated baits were used for 68 nights, followed by 56 nights during which treatment nights and control nights (untreated food) alternated. On treatment nights, the four quadrants on each slab each received one from pellets treated with ziram in the form of AAprotect™, cinnamamide with methanol, capsaicin with diethyl ether or untreated bait. Uneaten bait was weighed to determine consumption. The study ran from 19 July to 19 November 1996.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)