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Open AccessArticle

Music Festival Makes Hedgehogs Move: How Individuals Cope Behaviorally in Response to Human-Induced Stressors

by 1,†, 1,2,† and 1,2,*
1
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Alfred-Kowalke-Straße 17, 10315 Berlin, Germany
2
Berlin Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB), 14195 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Animals 2019, 9(7), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070455
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 1 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 18 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
Mega-events like concerts or festivals can still impact wildlife even when protective measures are taken. We remotely observed eight hedgehogs in a Berlin city park before and during a music festival using measuring devices attached to their bodies. While the actual festival only lasted two days (with about 70,000 visitors each day), setting the area up and removing the stages and stalls took 17 days in total. Construction work continued around the clock, causing an increase in light, noise and human presence throughout the night. In response, the hedgehogs showed clear changes in their behavior in comparison to the 19-day period just before the festival. We found, however, that different individuals responded differently to these changes in their environment. This individuality and behavioral flexibility could be one reason why hedgehogs are able to live in big cities.
Understanding the impact of human activities on wildlife behavior and fitness can improve their sustainability. In a pilot study, we wanted to identify behavioral responses to anthropogenic stress in an urban species during a semi-experimental field study. We equipped eight urban hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus; four per sex) with bio-loggers to record their behavior before and during a mega music festival (2 × 19 days) in Treptower Park, Berlin. We used GPS (Global Positioning System) to monitor spatial behavior, VHF (Very High Frequency)-loggers to quantify daily nest utilization, and accelerometers to distinguish between different behaviors at a high resolution and to calculate daily disturbance (using Degrees of Functional Coupling). The hedgehogs showed clear behavioral differences between the pre-festival and festival phases. We found evidence supporting highly individual strategies, varying between spatial and temporal evasion of the disturbance. Averaging the responses of the individual animals or only examining one behavioral parameter masked these potentially different individual coping strategies. Using a meaningful combination of different minimal-invasive bio-logger types, we were able to show high inter-individual behavioral variance of urban hedgehogs in response to an anthropogenic disturbance, which might be a precondition to persist successfully in urban environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: accelerometry; anthropogenic disturbance; behavioral flexibility; behavior recognition; Erinaceae; non-invasive stress detection; ODBA; urban wildlife accelerometry; anthropogenic disturbance; behavioral flexibility; behavior recognition; Erinaceae; non-invasive stress detection; ODBA; urban wildlife
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Rast, W.; Barthel, L.M.; Berger, A. Music Festival Makes Hedgehogs Move: How Individuals Cope Behaviorally in Response to Human-Induced Stressors. Animals 2019, 9, 455.

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