Hartpury at the forefront of collaborative wildlife
In 2010 The Mammal Society developed a new methodology for surveying for hedgehogs. Previous techniques (generally spotlighting) are largely inefficient and inaccurate, so a new technique was desperately needed to identify the presence of this rapidly declining British mammal.
In partnership with Dr Richard Yarnell at Nottingham Trent University a methodology was developed, and with funding from the People Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Society this has been piloted by six local Mammal Groups. Hartpury College was asked to participate by the Bristol and Gloucestershire Mammal Group, and during two weeks in July, tunnels, containing ink pads, paper and hot dog sausages (a hedgehog favourite!) were distributed across the Hartpury campus.
The tunnels record hedgehog (and other mammal) presence with footprints left after the hedgehogs walk through the inkpads. Four Hartpury students studying degrees in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and Animal Science and four members of the Mammal Group participated in the surveys, led by Animal Science lecturer Lucy Clarke. The survey was a great success with five hedgehogs found and a hedgehog presence identified in another six locations.
The technique will be re-tested on a larger scale during September, before being rolled out nationally. It will also feature in at least one student dissertation this year, by BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare student Tim Miller. Participation in this survey is the start of a fantastic new partnership for collaborative working with a number of local and national organisations. Additional projects to keep Hartpury’s Animal Science students at the forefront of their discipline are planned for the coming academic year.
Thanks to Abigail Coward (BSc Animal Science), Tim Miller (BSc), Sienna Jones (BSc Animal Behaviour & Welfare), Sara Allen-Smith (FdSc Animal Behaviour & Welfare), Susanna Bird (Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust), Karen Lloyd (Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust), Lizzie Croose (Vincent Wildlife Trust) and particularly Andrea Durn (BGMG) for setting up the project.
Photos show: Hedgehog and mouse footprints collected from a tunnel and Hartpury students removing hedgehog prints from a tunnel on a night-time survey.