How many hogs could a hog dog find if a hog dog could find hogs?

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation at Conference

Description

Monitoring changes in populations is fundamental for effective management. The West European hedgehog (Erinaceus europeaus) is of conservation concern in the UK because of recent substantial declines. Surveying hedgehogs is, however, problematic because of their nocturnal, cryptic behaviour. We compared the effectiveness of three methods (infra-red thermal camera,
specialist search dog, spotlight) for detecting hedgehogs in three different
habitats. Significantly more hedgehogs were detected, and at greater distance, using the camera and dog than the spotlight in amenity grassland and pasture; no hedgehogs were detected in woodland. Increasing ground cover reduced detection distances, with most detections (59.6%) associated with bare soil or
mown grass; the dog was the only method that detected hedgehogs in vegetation taller than the target species’ height. The additional value
of surveying with a detection dog is most likely to be realised in areas where badgers (Meles meles), an intra-guild predator, are and/or where sufficient ground cover is present; both would allow hedgehogs to forage further from
refuge habitats such as hedgerows. Further consideration of the effectiveness of detection dogs for finding hedgehogs in nests, as well as developing techniques for monitoring this species in woodland, is warranted.
Period14 Jan 2022
Event title9th Meeting of the European Hedgehog Research Group
Event typeConference
LocationPrague, Czech Republic
Degree of RecognitionInternational