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Project to explore climate’s impact on hedgehogs
hedgehog tunnel
The inside of a footprint tracking tunnel, being used to monitor hedgehog activity.
Researchers will look at winter food sources and hedgehog activity
 
Leicester researchers are set to explore how the changing climate is affecting British hedgehog survival during winter waking.

Led by Saadia Khan at the University of Leicester, the project will investigate whether warmer wetter winters are impacting invertebrate food sources for hedgehogs, which would have a detrimental impact on their ability to survive.

Hedgehogs wake up periodically during hibernation to forage for food in warm winter spells. Khan said: “With warmer winters, these periods of winter waking may be increasing. This poses problems if the energy lost during winter waking is not replaced due to the lack of food sources available in the winter.”

University of Leicester research on hedgehog activity is already underway at 12 sites and has previously looked at food availability and hedgehog activity in autumn.

Khan, who is being supervised by Dr Moya Burns from the university’s geography department, will build on this research by using footprint tracking tunnels to monitor hedgehog activity and putting out data loggers to explore whether there is a link between how often hedgehogs forage over winter, and ambient temperature. Food availability will be assessed by sampling for ground beetles, earthworms and slugs.

A previous study by Leicester City Council found several population clusters around Leicester and has helped to inform some of the sites in the current project.

Richard Kelly, natural conservation officer at the city council said: “It is hoped that the findings may indicate where extra conservation efforts could be focused in helping to reduce the decline of the hedgehog.”

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New DNA testing scheme for the Russian black terrier

News Story 1
 A new DNA testing scheme for juvenile laryngeal paralysis and polyneuropathy (JLPP) in the Russian black terrier has been approved by The Kennel Club.

JLPP is a genetic disease that affects the nerves. In affected dogs, it starts with the nerve that supplies the muscles of the larynx leading to muscle weakness and laryngeal paralysis.

To find out which laboratories the Kennel Club is able to record results from, and which labs will send results direct to the Kennel Club, visit thekennelclub.org.uk.

 

News Shorts
Feline art marks 90 years of Cats Protection

Sussex-based charity Cats Protection is hosting a prestigious art exhibition to mark its 90th anniversary.

More than 200 paintings provided by members of the Society of Feline Artists will go on show at the charity's National Cat Centre in Chelwood Gate (28 April - 7 May).

"Art enthusiasts, students and cat lovers alike will all enjoy the exhibition, and we hope it will also inspire some of our younger visitors to get sketching," said Cats Protection's director of fundraising, Lewis Coghlin.