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Wanted: wildlife watchers!

Wanted: wildlife watchers!

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Wanted: wildlife watchers!

A local student is calling for volunteer wildlife watchers to look out for hedgehogs in their gardens, as part of her research at the University of Bristol.

Sarah Kirby is looking for around 200 volunteers to carry out two evenings of 'hedgehog watching' from their own homes.

"All they have to do is put out a dish of meat-flavoured cat food and some water on two evenings, then watch to see how many hedgehogs visit," explained Miss Kirby.

"We will use these observations to find out how many hedgehogs live in Guernsey and to make a map of their distribution. We hope this will show us if any areas might need further protection in the future and that it will help local people to learn more about the wildlife that can be found right in their back garden."

Guernsey hedgehog project

Pictured: The Guernsey Hedgehog Project is appealing for volunteers.

While the number of hedgehogs is declining in the UK, it is not yet clear whether the situation in Guernsey is similar. This project aims to find out roughly how many hedgehogs there are in the island - data which can be used to prompt further conservation efforts in the future.

Anyone living in Guernsey with access to a garden can take part, but those inputing the data must be 18 or older.

Once signed up, volunteers will be asked to put a small dish of hedgehog friendly food and a shallow dish of water in their garden at dusk, and watch for about an hour, recording how many hedgehogs visit. They will be sent an online form to make note of how big the animals were, whether they had any distinguishing features and the postcode of where they were spotted.

The following week, the volunteers will be asked to carry out the research again, recording whether they believe the hedgehogs visiting their garden were the same ones as the week before.

hedgehog food

Pictured: Volunteers will leave a shallow dish of food for the hedgehogs.

If possible, volunteers will also be requested to take photos of the animals.

The results of the study will be posted on the Guernsey Hedgehog Project website and sent out in an email to all volunteers. Miss Kirby is also hoping to write a paper to submit for publication in a scientific journal and may even present her findings at a British mammal conference.

Prospective volunteers can find out more information and sign up to take part here.

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