Researchers at NUI Galway are asking farmers all around Ireland to take part in a short, questionnaire survey to report the hedgehog status of your farm.
It is hoped the current study will provide information on the numbers and distribution of hedgehogs in Ireland that will enable researchers to monitor their population in the future.
The humble hedgehog is the research subject of PhD candidate, Elaine O’Riordan, from the Zoology Department at NUI Galway.
“Hedgehogs are one of the most understudied mammal species in Ireland. We have very little data on the status of the Irish hedgehog population.”
“Thus, it is not known if Irish hedgehog numbers are experiencing similar declines as seen in Britain and other countries across Europe.” O’Riordan explained.
Recent studies in the UK estimate losses of up to 50% of hedgehogs in rural areas and 30% in urban areas over the last 20 years.
These losses have been largely attributed to habitat loss and damage due to changing land management practices and increased urbanisation and infrastructure.
Record hedgehog sightings
As well as the farmer questionnaire, the Irish hedgehog survey is encouraging the general public to record their hedgehog sightings (alive or dead) via the Biodiversity Ireland website here.
Interested volunteers are also invited to take part in a garden hedgehog survey using footprint tunnels which can be made at home, or a trail camera if they have one - Details on this project can be found here.
The Irish hedgehog survey will run for the next two years and will expand in 2021 to include a countryside hedgehog survey.