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The EEG recently received the following request from Dr Phil Baker of the School of Biological Sciences at reading University requesting help in a survey he is doing on Hedgehogs:-
I am a lecturer at the University of Reading with particular interests in the fields of mammalogy and urban ecology. I am contacting you with a rather bizarre request, but one I think that you may be able to help with.
As you may be aware, counts of road-killed hedgehogs in various parts of
the country have suggested that hedgehogs have declined substantially in
the last few decades. There has been a whole host of reasons suggested
for this decline and I am currently supervising a project that aims to
examine some of these in more detail. However, at this point, my PhD
The reason for this rather unusual request is that there are currently no data on the dynamics of any hedgehog populations in the UK, in part because of the problems associated with quantifying survival and productivity rates. However, such data can easily be obtained from animals recovered dead. For example, annual growth rings in the bones and teeth can be used to age individuals, and these can then be used to construct a life table from which age-specific survival and mortality rates can be estimated. The problem with such projects in general is getting hold of enough carcasses for examination: for hedgehogs, though, this (unfortunately) should not be especially difficult as large numbers are killed on roads each year. What we do need, though, is to let lots of people know that we require such carcasses for analysis.
Therefore, I am writing to you to ask that if you find any carcasses within Reading that you either (i) report these to us for collection or (ii) pick up the animals on our behalf and complete a simple form outlining where it was collected from and (optionally) some information about the road-side characteristics. Additional information concerning this project can be found at (or should be available very shortly): www.reading.ac.uk.
If you require any extra information, please do not hesitate to get in touch
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