Led by scientists from the University of Reading and Nottingham Trent University, the study exposed the sad news that most of the countryside in England and Wales is no longer occupied by hedgehogs, due to changes in farming methods and rising badger populations which eat the prickly animals and much of their food sources. Labelled the first systematic national survey, the shocking results published in the journal, Scientific Reports, showed that numbers are believed to have fallen by 80% since the 1950s.
As part of the study, 261 rural sites were monitored by analysing footprints left by hedgehogs in special tracking tunnels. A map was then created, using the survey findings, depicting the pattern of hedgehog occupancy on sites in England and Wales in relation to relative badger density: The worryingly low levels of hedgehog numbers are most disturbing in the South West of England, where there were found to be no rural hedgehogs at all.
Source: Country Living, Sep 8, 2018
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