|Title||Investigating the role of the eurasian badger (Meles meles) in the nationwide distribution of the western european hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in England|
|Author(s)||Hof, Anouschka R.; Allen, Andrew M.; Bright, Paul W.|
|Source||Animals 9 (2019)10. - ISSN 2076-2615|
|Department(s)||Wildlife Ecology and Conservation|
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Citizen science - Conservation - Displacement - Predator-prey interaction - Spatial use|
Biodiversity is declining globally, which calls for effective conservation measures. It is, therefore, important to investigate the drivers behind species presence at large spatial scales. The Western European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is one of the species facing declines in parts of its range. Yet, drivers of Western European hedgehog distribution at large spatial scales remain largely unknown. At local scales, the Eurasian badger (Meles meles), an intraguild predator of the Western European hedgehog, can affect both the abundance and the distribution of the latter. However, the Western European hedgehog and the Eurasian badger have shown to be able to co-exist at a landscape scale. We investigated whether the Eurasian badger may play a role in the likelihood of the presence of the Western European hedgehog throughout England by using two nationwide citizen science surveys. Although habitat-related factors explained more variation in the likelihood of Western European hedgehog presence, our results suggest that Eurasian badger presence negatively impacts the likelihood of Western European hedgehog presence. Intraguild predation may, therefore, be influencing the nationwide distribution of hedgehogs in England, and further research is needed about how changes in badger densities and intensifying agricultural practices that remove shelters like hedgerows may influence hedgehog presence.