Volunteers needed to count hedgehogs in Dublin survey

by Kim O Leary
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Dublin City Council is inviting members of the public to become citizen scientists and take part in this year’s Irish Hedgehog Survey.

Following on from the success of last year’s first ever Irish Hedgehog Survey, which resulted in over 2,000 sightings being recorded nationwide, Dublin City Council has joined the project, which is a collaboration between researchers in the Zoology Department at NUI Galway, the National Biodiversity Data Centre and other local authorities.

The project aims to provide information on the types of habitats where hedgehogs do and don’t occur, as well as raise awareness among the public about the presence of hedgehogs in the city.

As part of the project, a leaflet entitled ‘Helping Hedgehogs’ is also being launched to educate people about how they can make their garden and community more hedgehog friendly.

The survey, which will take place from May to September, is inviting volunteers to conduct a survey in their local area using footprint tunnels to determine if hedgehogs are present in various habitats.

Volunteers will be provided with training and asked to place 10 footprint tunnels within a 1km2 area for 5 nights and check them each morning for any signs of hedgehogs.

Speaking about the initiative, Lorraine Bull, Biodiversity Officer with Dublin City Council said: “We are delighted to be joining this year’s survey, which will engage members of the public in citizen science while helping us to find out valuable information on where hedgehogs can be found across the city.

The project is suitable for anyone with an interest in local wildlife, conservation groups, and community and youth groups.  We will be hosting webinars and training sessions next month for those who wish to learn more about the survey and find out how they can get the equipment, which is being provided. Given the current restrictions, workshops will be delivered online.”

Elaine O’Riordan, Project Officer from the Zoology School of Natural Science at NUI Galway said: “We are delighted with the response to the Hedgehog Survey so far and we are hopeful that lots of volunteers will get involved and survey different types of habitats in Dublin’s urban areas.”

To download a copy of the Helping Hedgehogs leaflet (in English and Irish) go to:  https://admin.dublincity.ie/node/8706.

Copies will also be available from public libraries when restrictions allow.

For details of training sessions go to: www.irishhedgehogsurvey.com

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