Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Conservation detection dog saving Britain’s hedgehogs
Henry is one of a group of conservation dogs from Conservation K9 Consultancy.

Springer spaniel Henry sniffs-out hedgehogs at risk of land development

A conservation detection dog is undergoing training to sniff-out nesting hedgehogs before their habitat is cleared for development.

Springer spaniel Henry is one of a group of conservation dogs from Conservation K9 Consultancy. Working with his trainers, Henry is learning to find hedgehogs in a range of different habitats and conditions, so they can be moved to safety.

The project is being led by Lucy Bearman-Brown, a senior lecturer in animal science at Hartpury University, in collaboration with the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

Together with Henry’s trainer Louise Wilson, Lucy finds hedgehogs the traditional way with spotlights and marks them with a small radio tracking device. Henry then scours the area so that Lucy can monitor how effective he is at locating the hedgehogs.

Next, to see if modern technology can help with detection rates, Lucy searches the area herself using thermal imaging cameras. Both methods are being tested in the winter, when hedgehogs are hibernating, and the summer, when they are active, to show just how much of a 'super-dog' Henry is.

“As we suspected, Henry’s already been finding hedgehogs that I couldn’t locate using traditional methods – he is incredible!” she said.
“He is particularly good at finding hedgehogs hiding in thick undergrowth, much to the bemusement of Louise as she follows behind on the end of Henry’s lead.”

When Henry finds a hedgehog, he lets Louise know by sitting quietly nearby and looking at her. He then receives his reward, a game of fetch, away from the hedgehog.

“These early findings suggest we may soon have a new method that is more effective for finding hedgehogs at risk from land development, so we can move them out of harm’s way," Lucy continued. “The plan is that once this concept is proven, more dogs can be trained to help find hidden hedgehogs.

Image (C) Hartpury University.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Huge spike in ‘designer’ dogs going into rescue

News Story 1
 The RSPCA has reported a huge spike in the number of ‘designer’ dogs arriving into its care.

Figures published by the charity show there has been a 517 per cent increase in the number of French bulldogs arriving into its kennels. During that time, the charity has also seen an increase in dachshunds, chihuahuas, and crossbreeds.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “We know that the breeds of dog coming into our care often reflect the trends in dog ownership in the wider world and, at the moment, it doesn’t get more trendy than ‘designer’ dogs like French bulldogs and Dachshunds."


Click here for more...
News Shorts
New shearing guidance for farmers and contractors

Industry bodies have produced guidance for farmers and contractors on how to handle sheep during shearing to avoid stress and injury.

The guidance includes every step - from the presentation of sheep and facilities for shearing, through to using a contractor and shearers - and aims to ensure shearing is carried out safely, efficiently and with high standards of animal welfare.

Guide co-author Jill Hewitt from the NAAC said: “Shearing is a professional job that takes significant skill. Shearers take their responsibility to protect animal welfare very seriously and it will be a positive step to remind everyone of the importance of working together.’