Special Issue "Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Anne Berger
Website
Guest Editor
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Berlin, Germany
Interests: behavioural and evolutionary ecology; chronobiology; wildlife telemetry; reintroduction and conservation of mammals; urban ecology; stress detection in wildlife; animal welfare; wildlife detection dogs; Przewalski horses; European hedgehog; roe deer
Dr. Nigel Reeve
Website
Guest Editor
Independent Ecologist
Interests: hedgehogs - especially behaviour and ecology, biotelemetry, wildlife ecology and conservation, urban ecology, animal welfare, citizen science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Despite their protected status and widespread popularity, the abundance of European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) is steadily or strongly declining in several European countries, especially in rural areas. This decline is likely due to multiple factors, including habitat loss and fragmentation, a decline in the availability of invertebrate prey, and negative interspecific influences. Due to their secretive nocturnal habits and similar appearance, the long-term monitoring of this species is very time consuming. Thus, this Special Issue will include studies that contribute to the development of improved protection measures for the hedgehog, for example:

  • Studies showing significant impacts on the behaviour and population dynamics of hedgehogs;
  • Proven and effective protection measures for hedgehogs;
  • Methods producing reliable population density estimates;
  • Methods that improve long-term and large-scale monitoring; and
  • Genetic studies of hedgehog populations.

Dr. Anne Berger
Dr. Nigel Reeve
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • European hedgehog
  • Erinaceus europaeus
  • wildlife conservation
  • urban ecology
  • population dynamics
  • wildlife diseases
  • population monitoring
  • genetic population structure
  • habitat fragmentation
  • habitat connectivity
  • disturbance
  • behaviour
  • biotelemetry

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Unexpected Gene-Flow in Urban Environments: The Example of the European Hedgehog
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122315 - 07 Dec 2020
Abstract
We use the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), a mammal with limited mobility, as a model species to study whether the structural matrix of the urban environment has an influence on population genetic structure of such species in the city of Berlin [...] Read more.
We use the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), a mammal with limited mobility, as a model species to study whether the structural matrix of the urban environment has an influence on population genetic structure of such species in the city of Berlin (Germany). Using ten established microsatellite loci we genotyped 143 hedgehogs from numerous sites throughout Berlin. Inclusion of all individuals in the cluster analysis yielded three genetic clusters, likely reflecting spatial associations of kin (larger family groups, known as gamodemes). To examine the potential bias in the cluster analysis caused by closely related individuals, we determined all pairwise relationships and excluded close relatives before repeating the cluster analysis. For this data subset (N = 65) both clustering algorithms applied (Structure, Baps) indicated the presence of a single genetic cluster. These results suggest that the high proportion of green patches in the city of Berlin provides numerous steppingstone habitats potentially linking local subpopulations. Alternatively, translocation of individuals across the city by hedgehog rescue facilities may also explain the existence of only a single cluster. We therefore propose that information about management activities such as releases by animal rescue centres should include location data (as exactly as possible) regarding both the collection and the release site, which can then be used in population genetic studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Hedgehog Behavioural Responses to Temporary Habitat Disturbance versus Permanent Fragmentation
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2109; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112109 - 13 Nov 2020
Abstract
Anthropogenic activities can result in both transient and permanent changes in the environment. We studied spatial and temporal behavioural responses of European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) to a transient (open-air music festival) and a permanent (highly fragmented area) disturbance in the city [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic activities can result in both transient and permanent changes in the environment. We studied spatial and temporal behavioural responses of European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) to a transient (open-air music festival) and a permanent (highly fragmented area) disturbance in the city of Berlin, Germany. Activity, foraging and movement patterns were observed in two distinct areas in 2016 and 2017 using a “Before & After“ and “Control & Impact“ study design. Confronted with a music festival, hedgehogs substantially changed their movement behaviour and nesting patterns and decreased the rhythmic synchronization (DFC) of their activity patterns with the environment. These findings suggest that a music festival is a substantial stressor influencing the trade-off between foraging and risk avoidance. Hedgehogs in a highly fragmented area used larger home ranges and moved faster than in low-fragmented and low-disturbed areas. They also showed behaviours and high DFCs similar to individuals in low-fragmented, low disturbed environment, suggesting that fragmentation posed a moderate challenge which they could accommodate. The acute but transient disturbance of a music festival, therefore, had more substantial and severe behavioural effects than the permanent disturbance through fragmentation. Our results are relevant for the welfare and conservation measure of urban wildlife and highlight the importance of allowing wildlife to avoid urban music festivals by facilitating avoidance behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
3D Geometric Morphometrics Reveals Convergent Character Displacement in the Central European Contact Zone between Two Species of Hedgehogs (Genus Erinaceus)
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1803; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101803 - 04 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Hedgehogs, as medium-sized plantigrade insectivores with low basal metabolic rates and related defensive anti-predator strategies, are quite sensitive to temperature and ecosystem productivity. Their ranges therefore changed dramatically due to Pleistocene climate oscillations, resulting in allopatric speciation and the subsequent formation of secondary [...] Read more.
Hedgehogs, as medium-sized plantigrade insectivores with low basal metabolic rates and related defensive anti-predator strategies, are quite sensitive to temperature and ecosystem productivity. Their ranges therefore changed dramatically due to Pleistocene climate oscillations, resulting in allopatric speciation and the subsequent formation of secondary contact zones. Such interactions between closely related species are known to generate strong evolutionary forces responsible for niche differentiation. In this connection, here, we detail the results of research on the phenotypic evolution in the two species of hedgehog present in central Europe, as based on genetics and geometric morphometrics in samples along a longitudinal transect that includes the contact zone between the species. While in allopatry, Erinaceus europaeus is found to have a larger skull than E. roumanicus and distinct cranial and mandibular shapes; the members of the two species in sympatry are smaller and more similar to each other, with a convergent shape of the mandible. The relevant data fail to reveal any major role for either hybridisation or clinal variation. We, therefore, hypothesise that competitive pressure exerted on the studied species does not generate divergent selection sufficient for divergent character displacement to evolve, instead giving rise to convergent selection in the face of resource limitation in the direction of smaller skull size. Considering the multi-factorial constraints present in the relevant adaptive landscape, reduction in size could also be facilitated by predator pressure in ecosystems characterised by mesopredator release and other anthropogenic factors. As the function of the animals’ lower jaw is mainly connected with feeding (in contrast to the cranium whose functions are obviously more complex), we interpret the similarity in shape as reflecting local adaptations to overlapping dietary resources in the two species and hence as convergent character displacement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Impact of Wildlife Shelter Management on the Genetic Diversity of Erinaceus europaeus and E. roumanicus in Their Contact Zone
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1452; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091452 - 20 Aug 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Hedgehogs are among the most abundant species to be found within wildlife shelters and after successful rehabilitation they are frequently translocated. The effects and potential impact of these translocations on gene flow within wild populations are largely unknown. In this study, different wild [...] Read more.
Hedgehogs are among the most abundant species to be found within wildlife shelters and after successful rehabilitation they are frequently translocated. The effects and potential impact of these translocations on gene flow within wild populations are largely unknown. In this study, different wild hedgehog populations were compared with artificially created “shelter populations”, with regard to their genetic diversity, in order to establish basic data for future inferences on the genetic impact of hedgehog translocations. Observed populations are located within central Europe, including the species Erinaceus europaeus and E. roumanicus. Shelters were mainly hosting one species; in one case, both species were present syntopically. Apart from one exception, the results did not show a higher genetic diversity within shelter populations, indicating that individuals did not originate from a wider geographical area than individuals grouped into one of the wild populations. Two shelters from Innsbruck hosted individuals that belonged to two potential clusters, as indicated in a distance analysis. When such a structure stems from the effects of landscape elements like large rivers, the shelter management-related translocations might lead to homogenization across the dispersal barrier. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Over-Winter Survival and Nest Site Selection of the West-European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in Arable Dominated Landscapes
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1449; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091449 - 19 Aug 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The West-European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) has declined markedly in the UK. The winter hibernation period may make hedgehogs vulnerable to anthropogenic habitat and climate changes. Therefore, we studied two contrasting populations in England to examine patterns of winter nest use, body [...] Read more.
The West-European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) has declined markedly in the UK. The winter hibernation period may make hedgehogs vulnerable to anthropogenic habitat and climate changes. Therefore, we studied two contrasting populations in England to examine patterns of winter nest use, body mass changes and survival during hibernation. No between-site differences were evident in body mass prior to hibernation nor the number of winter nests used, but significant differences in overwinter mass change and survival were observed. Mass change did not, however, affect survival rates; all deaths occurred prior to or after the hibernation period, mainly from predation or vehicle collisions. Hedgehogs consistently nested in proximity to hedgerows, roads and woodlands, but avoided pasture fields; differences between sites were evident for the selection for or avoidance of arable fields, amenity grassland and buildings. Collectively, these data indicate that hibernation was not a period of significant mortality for individuals that had attained sufficient weight (>600 g) pre-hibernation. Conversely, habitat composition did significantly affect the positioning of winter nests, such that different land management practices (historic and current) might potentially influence hibernation success. The limitations of this study and suggestions for future research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
DNA Footprints: Using Parasites to Detect Elusive Animals, Proof of Principle in Hedgehogs
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1420; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081420 - 14 Aug 2020
Abstract
The Western European Hedgehog (Erinaceous europaeus) is a nocturnal animal that is in decline in much of Europe, but the monitoring of this species is subjective, prone to error, and an inadequate basis for estimating population trends. Here, we report the [...] Read more.
The Western European Hedgehog (Erinaceous europaeus) is a nocturnal animal that is in decline in much of Europe, but the monitoring of this species is subjective, prone to error, and an inadequate basis for estimating population trends. Here, we report the use of Crenosoma striatum, a parasitic nematode specific to hedgehogs as definitive hosts, to detect hedgehog presence in the natural environment. This is achieved through collecting and sampling the parasites within their intermediate hosts, gastropoda, a group much simpler to locate and sample in both urban and rural habitats. C. striatum and Crenosoma vulpis were collected post-mortem from the lungs of hedgehogs and foxes, respectively. Slugs were collected in two sessions, during spring and autumn, from Skomer Island (n = 21), which is known to be free of hedgehogs (and foxes); and Pennard, Swansea (n = 42), known to have a healthy hedgehog population. The second internal transcribed spacer of parasite ribosomal DNA was used to develop a highly specific, novel, PCR based multiplex assay. Crenosoma striatum was found only at the site known to be inhabited by hedgehogs, at an average prevalence in gastropods of 10% in spring and autumn. The molecular test was highly specific: One mollusc was positive for both C. striatum and C. vulpis, and differentiation between the two nematode species was clear. This study demonstrates proof of principle for using detection of specific parasite DNA in easily sampled intermediate hosts to confirm the presence of an elusive nocturnal definitive host species. The approach has great potential as an adaptable, objective tool to supplement and support existing ecological survey methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Hibernation Patterns of the European Hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus, at a Cornish Rescue Centre
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1418; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081418 - 14 Aug 2020
Abstract
The European hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus, is frequently admitted to rescue centres in the UK. With many overwintering in captivity, there is cause to investigate hibernation patterns in order to inform and improve husbandry and monitoring protocols. Thirty-five hedgehogs were studied over two [...] Read more.
The European hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus, is frequently admitted to rescue centres in the UK. With many overwintering in captivity, there is cause to investigate hibernation patterns in order to inform and improve husbandry and monitoring protocols. Thirty-five hedgehogs were studied over two winters. Weight change during hibernation for the first winter was used to test for effects of disturbance on different aspects of hibernation, including total duration, frequency and duration of spontaneous arousals. There was no significant difference between the two winters for any of the four aspects studied. Significant positive correlations demonstrated that weight-loss increased with the duration of the hibernation period and with percent of nights spent asleep, but not with the number of arousal events. Thus, weight-loss appears more strongly associated with the proportion of time spent asleep than with the number of arousal events. This was surprising given the assumed energetic expense of repeated arousal and was potentially due to availability of food during arousals. In contrast with previous studies, larger hedgehogs lost less weight per day than did smaller hedgehogs. They also woke up more often (i.e., had more opportunities to feed), which may explain the unexpected pattern of weight-loss. Hibernatory behaviour in captivity differs from that in the wild, likely because of non-natural conditions in hutches and the immediate availability of food. This study provides a basis for further research into the monitoring and husbandry of hedgehogs such that it can be adapted for each individual according to pre-hibernation weight and behaviour during hibernation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Patterns of Feeding by Householders Affect Activity of Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) during the Hibernation Period
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1344; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081344 - 04 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
West European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) are likely to encounter unusual ecological features in urban habitats, such as anthropogenic food sources and artificial refugia. Quantifying how these affect hedgehog behaviour is vital for informing conservation guidelines for householders. We monitored hedgehog presence/absence [...] Read more.
West European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) are likely to encounter unusual ecological features in urban habitats, such as anthropogenic food sources and artificial refugia. Quantifying how these affect hedgehog behaviour is vital for informing conservation guidelines for householders. We monitored hedgehog presence/absence in gardens in the town of Reading, UK, over the winter of 2017–2018 using a volunteer-based footprint tunnel survey, and collected data on garden characteristics, supplementary feeding (SF) habits, and local environmental conditions. Over a 20-week survey period, hedgehog presence was lowest between January and March. Occupancy analysis indicated that SF significantly affected hedgehog presence/absence before, during, and after hibernation. The number of nesting opportunities available in gardens, average temperatures, and daylength were also supported as important factors at different stages. In particular, our results suggest that SF could act to increase levels of activity during the winter when hedgehogs should be hibernating. Stimulating increased activity at this sensitive time could push hedgehogs into a net energy deficit or, conversely, help some individuals survive which might not otherwise do so. Therefore, further research is necessary to determine whether patterns of feeding by householders have a positive or negative effect on hedgehog populations during the hibernation period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Moving in the Dark—Evidence for an Influence of Artificial Light at Night on the Movement Behaviour of European Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus)
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1306; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081306 - 30 Jul 2020
Abstract
With urban areas growing worldwide comes an increase in artificial light at night (ALAN), causing a significant impact on wildlife behaviour and its ecological relationships. The effects of ALAN on nocturnal and protected European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) are unknown but their [...] Read more.
With urban areas growing worldwide comes an increase in artificial light at night (ALAN), causing a significant impact on wildlife behaviour and its ecological relationships. The effects of ALAN on nocturnal and protected European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) are unknown but their identification is important for sustainable species conservation and management. In a pilot study, we investigated the influence of ALAN on the natural movement behaviour of 22 hedgehogs (nine females, 13 males) in urban environments. Over the course of four years, we equipped hedgehogs at three different study locations in Berlin with biologgers to record their behaviour for several weeks. We used Global Positioning System (GPS) tags to monitor their spatial behaviour, very high-frequency (VHF) loggers to locate their nests during daytime, and accelerometers to distinguish between active and passive behaviours. We compared the mean light intensity of the locations recorded when the hedgehogs were active with the mean light intensity of simulated locations randomly distributed in the individual’s home range. We were able to show that the ALAN intensity of the hedgehogs’ habitations was significantly lower compared to the simulated values, regardless of the animal’s sex. This ALAN-related avoidance in the movement behaviour can be used for applied hedgehog conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Outcomes, Mortality Causes, and Pathological Findings in European Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europeus, Linnaeus 1758): A Seventeen Year Retrospective Analysis in the North of Portugal
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081305 - 30 Jul 2020
Abstract
This study aimed to analyze the admission causes, outcomes, primary causes of death, and main lesions observed in the post mortem examinations of Western European hedgehogs, Erinaceus europaeus (Linnaeus, 1758), in the north of Portugal. The data were obtained by consulting the records [...] Read more.
This study aimed to analyze the admission causes, outcomes, primary causes of death, and main lesions observed in the post mortem examinations of Western European hedgehogs, Erinaceus europaeus (Linnaeus, 1758), in the north of Portugal. The data were obtained by consulting the records from the two main wildlife rehabilitation centers located in the north of Portugal (Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre of Parque Biologico de Gaia and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre of the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro). Over 17 years (2002–2019) a total of 740 animals were admitted. Most of the animals were juveniles, with the highest number of admissions occurring during summer (36.8%) and spring (33.2%). The main reasons for admission were debilitation (30.7%) and random finds (28.4%). Of the total number of individuals admitted to these centers, 66.6% were successfully released back into the wild. The most relevant causes of death were trauma of unknown origin (32.7%), nontrauma causes of unknown origin (26.6%), and nutritional disorders (20.2%). The main lesions observed were related to trauma, including skeletal and skin lesions (fractures, hemorrhages, wounds) and organ damage, particularly to the lungs and liver. The hedgehog is a highly resilient and adaptable animal. The urban environment has many benefits for hedgehogs, yet the presence of humans can be harmful. In the future, the public needs to become even more involved in the activities of the wildlife centres, which will make a positive difference for these populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Characteristics and Demography of a Free-Ranging Ethiopian Hedgehog, Paraechinus aethiopicus, Population in Qatar
Animals 2020, 10(6), 951; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10060951 - 30 May 2020
Abstract
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-mark-recapture study in Qatar by fitting Jolly-Seber and Cormack-Jolly-Seber models. Over [...] Read more.
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-mark-recapture study in Qatar by fitting Jolly-Seber and Cormack-Jolly-Seber 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, with anthropogenic 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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Role of the Eurasian Badger (Meles meles) in the Nationwide Distribution of the Western European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in England
Animals 2019, 9(10), 759; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100759 - 02 Oct 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Biodiversity is declining globally, which calls for effective conservation measures. It is, therefore, important to investigate the drivers behind species presence at large spatial scales. The Western European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is one of the species facing declines in parts of [...] Read more.
Biodiversity is declining globally, which calls for effective conservation measures. It is, therefore, important to investigate the drivers behind species presence at large spatial scales. The Western European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is one of the species facing declines in parts of its range. Yet, drivers of Western European hedgehog distribution at large spatial scales remain largely unknown. At local scales, the Eurasian badger (Meles meles), an intraguild predator of the Western European hedgehog, can affect both the abundance and the distribution of the latter. However, the Western European hedgehog and the Eurasian badger have shown to be able to co-exist at a landscape scale. We investigated whether the Eurasian badger may play a role in the likelihood of the presence of the Western European hedgehog throughout England by using two nationwide citizen science surveys. Although habitat-related factors explained more variation in the likelihood of Western European hedgehog presence, our results suggest that Eurasian badger presence negatively impacts the likelihood of Western European hedgehog presence. Intraguild predation may, therefore, be influencing the nationwide distribution of hedgehogs in England, and further research is needed about how changes in badger densities and intensifying agricultural practices that remove shelters like hedgerows may influence hedgehog presence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Impacts and Potential Mitigation of Road Mortality for Hedgehogs in Europe
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1523; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091523 - 28 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)

Other

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Open AccessCommentary
Beneficial Land Management for Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) in the United Kingdom
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1566; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091566 - 03 Sep 2020
Abstract
Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) are traditionally thought of as being a rural dwelling species, associated with rural and agricultural landscapes across Europe. However, recent studies have highlighted that hedgehogs are more likely to be found in urban than rural habitats in the [...] Read more.
Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) are traditionally thought of as being a rural dwelling species, associated with rural and agricultural landscapes across Europe. However, recent studies have highlighted that hedgehogs are more likely to be found in urban than rural habitats in the United Kingdom. Here, we review the status of rural hedgehog populations across the UK and evaluate the potential benefits of agri-environment schemes for hedgehog persistence, while highlighting a lack of empirical evidence that agri-environment options will benefit hedgehog populations. Our synthesis has implications for future conservation strategies for hedgehogs and insectivorous mammals living in agricultural landscapes, and calls for more empirical studies on agri-environment options and their potential benefits to hedgehogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Hedgehog Conservation Research)
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