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Hedgehogs and road tunnels

Could amphibian road tunnels be an effective mitigation technique for hedgehog populations fragmented by roads?

The project

PTES is funding mammal intern Iain Hill to work with Dr Silviu Petrovan at Froglife UK to assess the use of amphibian road tunnels by hedgehogs and water voles at a potential nature reserve in Scotland.

Hedgehog using road tunnelHedgehogs are often seen killed on the roads and, to date, we don’t know what impact this is having on the wider population. To ensure that local extinctions do not occur, mitigation is necessary to allow the animals safe passage across busy roads. The tunnels Iain will be monitoring were installed to allow safe passage of amphibians from a marsh on one side of the road to a loch on the other during breeding migrations. Unsurprisingly, mammals (including hedgehogs and water voles) have also been recorded using them during 2015. This project will use multiple techniques including the monitoring of the tunnels with time lapsed IR cameras and ink tunnel foot traps. Tunnel use will then be compared to species abundance data gathered through the use of wetland surveys, sand footprint traps and live trapping in areas nearer and further away from the tunnels to examine the effectiveness of tunnel mitigation in relation to both hedgehogs and water voles.

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