With hedgehog numbers across Britain dwindling (and tonight's bonfire activities sure to lower the population numbers further) a team of researchers at Shepreth Wildlife Park in Cambridgeshire have come up with a novel solution to aid rehabilitated hedgehogs, equipping them with GPS trackers.
The £9,500 scheme sees 24 hedgehogs that have been nursed back to health equipped with one of the £150, 50g devices. Glued to the hedgehogs' backs, the hope is that researchers will be able to determine how well hedgehogs that have been reared in "plastic" environments adapt to their natural habitats upon release, and whether or not their survival skills extend as far as breeding in the wild too. With the GPS trackers strapped to their backs, they're certainly going to catch the attention of the opposite sex at the very least, even if they're chased from hedgehog communities for being technologically advanced rodent cyborgs.
The researchers promise that the inch-long GPS kits are perfectly humane for the hedgehogs to use, with the packs falling off as the animal's prickly spines grow out over the course of a year. If the recovered satellite data works as planned, the Shepreth Wildlife park team should be able to pinpoint where and when are the ideal places and times to release hedgehogs back into the wild, leading to a boost in the cute critters' numbers. [BBC]