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New hibernation survey starts 1 February 2012
The People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) are appealing to people to take part in a new wildlife survey to help determine whether climate change is having an impact on when hedgehogs emerge from hibernation and how this might be affecting their survival.
Last year, The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs, an independent study confirmed that hedgehog populations have plummeted by at least a quarter over the last decade. The decline of the species is attributed to a number of environmental factors, but with more extreme weather fluctuations recorded in recent seasons, might climate change be another contributing issue?
Research in the 1970s Dr Pat Morris revealed a direct link between hibernation and climate: for example hedgehogs came out of hibernation up to three weeks earlier in the South West of England compared to Scotland. PTES and BHPS hope that with the vast ‘people power’ of citizen science, they can identify any changes in the timing of waking hedgehogs since the initial research 40 years ago.
People are asked to record their sightings of hedgehogs as they start to emerge in spring after hibernation. The easy-to-do survey starts on 1 February 2012 (running through till August) and can be completed online. If you are interested in taking part, please sign-up for the survey.