Dead hedgehog reports needed for Reading conservation study

Hedgehog Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Surveys suggest Hedgehog populations in Britain are in steep decline

People are being urged to record sightings of dead hedgehogs as part of a conservation research project.

Reading University ecologists are investigating the impact of urban traffic the nocturnal mammal's numbers.

Dr Philip Baker said hedgehogs face "growing threats" in built-up environments.

Anyone spotting a dead hedgehog in Reading is asked to contact the team who will recover the body and carry out genetic studies.

Surveys suggest Hedgehog populations in Britain are in steep decline.

'Population fragmentation'

In the 1950s, 36 million of the animals used to snuffle in UK gardens. There may now be less than a million.

The study team is investigating if roads and other obstacles like rivers can create barriers to movement and cause populations to fragment.

Dr Baker said: "Towns and cities provide surprisingly good habitats for hedgehogs, but if different populations become isolated, they may face an uncertain future.

"Our research is focusing on Reading but our findings will help hedgehog conservation nationwide."

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