An animal charity has urged any decision on more badger culls be delayed until after an assesment gauging how floods have affected populations is completed.
The Humane Society International UK (HSI UK) said it was concerned recent wet weather may have damaged badger setts, disrupted clans and drowned cubs.
Mark Jones, vet and HSI UK executive director, said he was especially worried about badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire, where two pilot culls were undertaken last year.
“There will be cubs in those setts right now and it’s possible that some cubs will have drowned too. This could have significant impacts on badger populations later in the year,” he added
A report on the pilot culls by independent experts is still with the panel but is expected to be published soon. The report will inform DEFRA secretary Owen Paterson’s decision over whether the cull will be extended to 10 other areas this year.