Ecology

Effect of British hunting ban on fox numbers

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Abstract

Pressure to ban the hunting of foxes with hounds in Britain has fuelled debate about its contribution to the control of fox populations. We took advantage of a nationwide one-year ban on fox-hunting during the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in 2001 to examine this issue and found that the ban had no measurable impact on fox numbers in randomly selected areas. Our results argue against suggestions that fox populations would increase markedly in the event of a permanent ban on hunting.

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Figure 1: Hunting with hounds.

RSPCA PHOTO LIBRARY

Figure 2: Changes in faecal density before and after the ban on fox-hunting during the 2001 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Britain.

References

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Author information

Correspondence to Stephen Harris.

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Competing interests

financial, declared none; P.J.B. and C.C.W. were funded by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

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Baker, P., Harris, S. & Webbon, C. Effect of British hunting ban on fox numbers. Nature 419, 34 (2002) doi:10.1038/419034a

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