Characteristics and Demography of a Free-Ranging Ethiopian Hedgehog, Paraechinus aethiopicus, Population in Qatar
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, Recanati-Kaplan Centre, University of Oxford, Tubney House, Abingdon Road, Tubney, Oxfordshire OX13 5QL, UK
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Qatar University, P.O. Box 2713 Doha, Qatar
Institute of Tropical Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Nerus 21030, Terengganu, Malaysia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 May 2020 / Revised: 23 May 2020 / Accepted: 28 May 2020 / Published: 30 May 2020
Information on population characteristics of Paraechinusis is valuable for ensuring long term survival of populations, however, studies are currently lacking. Here we investigate the population dynamics of Ethiopian hedgehogs based on a capture study in Qatar by fitting several statistical models. Over the 19 months of the study, we estimate a mean population of 60 hedgehogs, giving a density of 7 hedgehogs per km2 in our 8.5 km2 search area. The monthly abundance of hedgehogs decreased over the study and although survival was constant over the study period, with a mean monthly rate of 75%, there was a decline in the number of new entrants over time. We also studied these parameters over one year, excluding winter, and found that monthly estimates of juvenile and subadult survival decreased over time. We surmise that survival of juveniles may be a factor in the decrease in abundance and there may be implications for the persistence of this population in the future, with human influenced resources playing an important role. We caught between 91.3% and 100% of the estimated population at this site, indicating that our capture methodology was efficient. We conclude that the methodology used here is transferrable to other hedgehog species.