OS data helps identify where hedgehogs are most at risk
With such varied and comprehensive datasets, we often find our mapping being used in interesting and unexpected ways. Upon discovering the #HogsOnRoads appeal, we decided to find out more…
Using OS datasets, the Mammal Society has recently published research on when, where and why hedgehog roadkill is most likely to occur.
Funded by the Mammal Society, People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), the research analysed more than 12,500 hedgehog roadkill records.
The study found that around 9% of the 400,000 km of road in Britain is particularly dangerous for hedgehogs. The research identified the outskirts of cities in central Britain as blackspots, with grassland areas and the outskirts of urban areas carrying the highest risk.
Despite forming a relatively small proportion of the total road network, major roads are also particularly hazardous. Many of the high-risk locations were in central Britain, southern Wales, the outskirts of London, north-east England, and the Central-Belt of Scotland.
Seasonal trends were assessed using a Generalised Additive Model. There were fewer casualties in winter—the hibernation season for hedgehogs—with a gradual increase from February that reached a peak in July before declining thereafter.
Using OS MasterMap Topography Layer and OS Open Roads further, the Mammal Society created an interactive map. This map enables users to find out if there are any high-risk roads near them and to see the probability of hedgehog roadkill in their area.
As a Mammal Society scientist and one of the authors of the paper, Patrick Wright states: “We used OS road data because it’s a great source of data providing information on roads at a national scale. Thanks to the availability of open source datasets such as OS data, we now know where and when hedgehog road fatalities occur. This means that we will eventually be able to target our efforts to reduce hedgehog roadkill.”
You can download the full report Predicting hedgehog mortality risks on British roads using habitat suitability modelling here.
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This is the first step in a much larger project for the charity. From here, they plan to carry out further studies to find out whether introducing speed limits in high risk areas could reduce the likelihood of hedgehog road deaths.