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A hedgehog on the grass facing the camera

We’ve joined a pioneering new three-year pilot to monitor the UK’s hedgehogs and try to reverse the fall in their numbers.

Durham University and our MammalWeb project are partners in the National Hedgehog Monitoring Programme (NHMP). 

UK hedgehog numbers have declined by between 30 and 75 per cent in countryside areas since 2000. 

The NHMP uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), trail cameras and volunteers to make robust estimations of hedgehog populations in different habitats across the country and show how these are changing year-on-year. 

This gives conservationists crucial insight into why hedgehog numbers are falling and the practical measures needed to try and conserve these much-loved animals. 

Hedgehog conservation  

Trail cameras are used to capture images of hedgehogs, and other wildlife, in different habitats, including urban parks, private gardens, woodlands and farmland.  

The use of AI is a world-first in hedgehog conservation. 

Algorithms sort all the images captured, minimising the numbers of blank or human images, and maximising the number of animal images for home-based volunteers – known as ‘spotters’ – to identify.  

Once the images are classified, a team of analysts will produce vital population numbers and information. 

It’s fantastic for our platform to be part of this important collaboration. We’re looking forward to working with new ‘trappers’ and ‘spotters’ to generate the critical data needed to understand the status of hedgehogs in the UK and to develop strategies for their conservation.

Professor Russell Hill
Department of Anthropology and Director at MammalWeb

Hedgehog Friendly Campus

Our new Biodiversity Strategy commits us to maintaining and enhancing the natural environment, improving habitats for a wide variety of wildlife and plants.

We’re a Gold Award Hedgehog Friendly Campus thanks to the hard work of students and staff in promoting hedgehog friendly volunteering and actions across the University.

Founded by our scientists in 2013, MammalWeb works with organisations and members of the public to collect camera trap images of the UK’s mammals to build a picture of their distribution and behaviours.

Find out more

Banner picture: Credit Paul Genge, for Hedgehog Street.