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Open AccessReview

Impacts and Potential Mitigation of Road Mortality for Hedgehogs in Europe

1
School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Southwell NG25 0QF, Nottinghamshire, UK
2
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, The David Attenborough Building, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, Cambridgeshire, UK
3
School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AH, Berkshire, UK
4
School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Sir Martin Evans Building, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1523; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091523
Received: 29 June 2020 / Revised: 22 August 2020 / Accepted: 26 August 2020 / Published: 28 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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.
Transport infrastructure is a pervasive element in modern landscapes and continues to expand to meet the demands of a growing human population and its associated resource consumption. Road-induced mortality is often thought to be a major contributor to the marked declines of European hedgehog populations. This review synthesizes available evidence on the population-level impacts of road mortality and the threat to population viability for the five hedgehog species in Europe. Local and national studies suggest that road mortality can cause significant depletions in population sizes, predominantly removing adult males. Traffic collisions are a probable cause of fragmentation effects, subsequently undermining ecological processes such as dispersal, as well as the genetic variance and fitness of isolated populations. Further studies are necessary to improve population estimates and explicitly examine the consequences of sex- and age-specific mortality rates. Hedgehogs have been reported to use crossing structures, such as road tunnels, yet evaluations of mitigation measures for population survival probability are largely absent. This highlights the need for robust studies that consider population dynamics and genetics in response to mitigation. In light of ongoing declines of hedgehog populations, it is paramount that applied research is prioritised and integrated into a holistic spatial planning process. View Full-Text
Keywords: road mortality; collision; fragmentation; movement; demography; population viability; mitigation; road ecology; hedgehogs road mortality; collision; fragmentation; movement; demography; population viability; mitigation; road ecology; hedgehogs
MDPI and ACS Style

Moore, L.J.; Petrovan, S.O.; Baker, P.J.; Bates, A.J.; Hicks, H.L.; Perkins, S.E.; Yarnell, R.W. Impacts and Potential Mitigation of Road Mortality for Hedgehogs in Europe. Animals 2020, 10, 1523.

AMA Style

Moore LJ, Petrovan SO, Baker PJ, Bates AJ, Hicks HL, Perkins SE, Yarnell RW. Impacts and Potential Mitigation of Road Mortality for Hedgehogs in Europe. Animals. 2020; 10(9):1523.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Moore, Lauren J.; Petrovan, Silviu O.; Baker, Philip J.; Bates, Adam J.; Hicks, Helen L.; Perkins, Sarah E.; Yarnell, Richard W. 2020. "Impacts and Potential Mitigation of Road Mortality for Hedgehogs in Europe" Animals 10, no. 9: 1523.

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