Hedgehog tracking study to show critters' daily movements
Hedgehogs with tiny transmitter 'backpacks' will soon be roaming the streets of Steenwijk and Zoetermeer for a study into these critters' daily activities. The goal is to find out more about hedgehogs and what can be done to improve their living conditions, initiator Egelwerkgroep Nederland announced.
Egelwerkgroep Nederland is teaming up with Silvavir ecological advice center for this study. In Steenwijk, Egelwerkgroep Nederland researchers will find six healthy, adult hedgehogs in the wild and equip them with tiny transmitters that will show their location and movement. In Zoetermeer, Silvavir will do the same with six hedgehogs that are ready to be released from the Hedgehog Shelter Zoetermeer. The critters will be released and their movements will be tracked through to end August.
The researchers hope to find out more about what routes and distances hedgehogs cover on a daily basis, what their preferred habitat looks like, whether they have fixed nests or move about. Zoetermeer and Steenwijk were chosen as the locations for this study, partly because of the"green vein" in the cities, Egelwerkgroep Nederland said. "Both municipalities want to strengthen biodiversity, of which the hedgehog is of course an important part."
The transmitters are small and lightweight enough that they shouldn't bother the hedgehogs at all. But if a hedgehog seems to be in distress because of the transmitter, it will be removed.
The researchers have high hopes for this study, as similar studies abroad yielded a lot of useful information about hedgehogs. "This research will teach us so many new things with which we can better understand and protect the hedgehog. The information is not only useful for us as hedgehog researchers, but also for hedgehog shelters, municipalities and provinces, and of course, the general public," study coordinator Merel Klaarmond said.
The first results of the study should be ready in the autumn.
A hedgehog tracking study in Brighton, England: