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We are ecologists based at the University of Reading, currently conducting a project examining the possible impact of road networks on hedgehog populations. It is estimated that hedgehog populations in some parts of the UK have declined by approximately 20% in the last 20 years, and one possible factor contributing to this decline is the fragmentation effect of major roads on hedgehog populations i.e. hedgehogs avoid crossing these major roads, leading to populations becoming more and more isolated from one another, which potentially makes them more vulnerable to other factors.

For this study, we are looking to obtain genetic samples from hedgehogs in a zone approximately 10 miles north and south of the M4 between Bristol and Reading. One source of these genetic samples is the bodies of hedgehogs that have been killed on the roads. As many hedgehogs now seem to be living in and around villages, we are hoping to enlist the help of people living in this study zone by getting them to report any sightings they have of dead hedgehogs so that we can collect the remains and take a small tissue sample for our analyses.

We are also looking for people who have hedgehogs visiting their gardens and who would be willing to help by e.g. putting out food for a few nights.  The hedgehogs will then tend to poo nearby and we can collect it for your study. 

If you would like any more information please do not hesitate to contact Ben on b.williams@pgr.reading.ac.uk

 

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