Urban Hedgehog Behavioural Responses to Temporary Habitat Disturbance versus Permanent Fragmentation
Department of Evolutionary Ecology, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Alfred Kowalke Straße 17, 10315 Berlin, Germany
Berlin Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB), 14195 Berlin, Germany
Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Freie Universität Berlin, Takustrasse 3, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Oertzenweg 19b, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Department of Ecological Dynamics, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Alfred Kowalke Straße 17, 10315 Berlin, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 October 2020
Revised: 4 November 2020
Accepted: 10 November 2020
Published: 13 November 2020
Wildlife is exposed to environmental disturbances. Some are limited to a short period and pass by, others are of a permanent nature. Often these two kinds of disturbances occur simultaneously. This makes it difficult to disentangle the specific behavioural response to each disturbance. As species may respond to different disturbances in different ways, it is important to know the species-specific and disturbance-specific responses to develop effective species conservation action. We investigated the behavioural responses of European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) in Berlin to temporary disturbance (in the form of an open-air music festival) and permanent disturbance (in the form of habitat fragmentation). We show that a music festival is a major stressor that strongly influences all investigated behaviours. Urban hedgehogs in a highly fragmented area showed subtle behavioural changes compared to those in low-fragmented areas, suggesting that fragmentation was a moderate challenge which they could cope with. Thus, the temporary disturbance by a music festival had a more serious impact on hedgehog behaviour than permanent disturbance caused by fragmentation. Moreover, we show that males responded stronger to the transient disturbance and females responded stronger to habitat fragmentation.