Study: Wind turbines cause chronic stress in badgers in Great Britain

Roseanna C. N. AgnewValerie J. Smith, and Robert C. Fowkes, Royal Veterinary College, 4 Royal College Street, London NW1 0TU, UK , Zoological Society of London, Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY, UK, Scottish Oceans Institute, East Sands, University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8LB, UK
Corresponding author (email: )

Abstract

A paucity of data exists with which to assess the effects of wind turbines noise on terrestrial wildlife, despite growing concern about the impact of infrasound from wind farms on human health and well-being. In 2013, we assessed whether the presence of turbines in Great Britain impacted the stress levels of badgers (Meles meles) in nearby setts. Hair cortisol levels were used to determine if the badgers were physiologically stressed. Hair of badgers living <1 km from a wind farm had a 264% higher cortisol level than badgers >10 km from a wind farm. This demonstrates that affected badgers suffer from enhanced hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal activity and are physiologically stressed. No differences were found between the cortisol levels of badgers living near wind farms operational since 2009 and 2012, indicating that the animals do not become habituated to turbine disturbance. Cortisol levels in the affected badgers did not vary in relation to the distance from turbines within 1 km, wind farm annual power output, or number of turbines. We suggest that the higher cortisol levels in affected badgers is caused by the turbines’ sound and that these high levels may affect badgers’ immune systems, which could result in increased risk of infection and disease in the badger population.

4 thoughts on “Study: Wind turbines cause chronic stress in badgers in Great Britain

  1. This might be another measure to test the Cortisol levels in the folks participating in the Huron Health impact Study.

  2. Here are the words of Dr Norman Hallstein:

    “The human nervous system is the most sensitive instrument available to date for evaluating the impact of the Falmouth wind turbines on residents who live close to them. The ONLY experts in the discussion are the people who are sensing the sound, vibrations, pressure waves, etc. emitted by the turbines. There is no one more “expert “than these people. No so called expert has either equipment or information more accurate and sensitive than the affected residents’ nervous systems.”

    I’ll put the link to the whole article below.

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