An American badger was reported in February near OC Parks’ Santiago Oaks Regional Park in Orange, the first local sighting in nearly a decade. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife lists the animal as a “species of special concern,” meaning that while it is not threatened or endangered, its population has been in serious decline.
On par with the coyote and bobcat, the badger is a top predator, and evidence that the mammal resides in Orange County wilderness is a good sign of the overall health of the local ecosystem. Badgers are efficient predators of both small mammals and rodents, whose populations are higher due to the variety and abundance of food in their habitat. The health of badgers at the top of the food chain indicates health at the bottom of the food chain as well.