Impacts and Potential Mitigation of Road Mortality for Hedgehogs in Europe
School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Southwell NG25 0QF, Nottinghamshire, UK
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, The David Attenborough Building, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, Cambridgeshire, UK
School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AH, Berkshire, UK
School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Sir Martin Evans Building, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 June 2020 / Revised: 22 August 2020 / Accepted: 26 August 2020 / Published: 28 August 2020
The environmental impacts of transport infrastructure are attracting substantial research focus and road-induced mortality of wildlife is perhaps the most conspicuous impact of roads. Hedgehogs are a common victim of traffic collisions in Europe and several hedgehog species are showing marked population declines across their range. This review aims to consolidate current knowledge on the impacts of road mortality on the viability of populations of the five hedgehog species in Europe and identify research gaps. Previous studies have shown that roads are a major source of mortality for hedgehogs and that individuals with greater net movement, generally males, have the greatest likelihood of mortality. Road mortality also contributes to population isolation. More research is needed into how different individuals perceive, use and cross roads, as well as the efficacy of different mitigation measures (e.g., wildlife crossing structures) designed to reduce road mortality and population isolation. Assessing whether local hedgehog populations are at risk of extirpation or further declines due to road mortality is a prerequisite for effective conservation in environments affected by continuously developing road networks.