The British want to find out why hedgehogs are declining. Animals will be tracked by artificial intelligence

The British want to find out why hedgehogs are declining. Animals will be tracked by artificial intelligence
The British want to find out why hedgehogs are declining. Animals will be tracked by artificial intelligence
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Images of the spiny mammals roaming city parks, private gardens, forests and farmland are captured by cameras and then filtered by artificial intelligence trained to distinguish between wild animals and humans. The photos are then evaluated by volunteers, who select those with hedgehogs and send them to analysts, who record their number and location.

The National Hedgehog Monitoring Program (NHMP) hopes to use this method to create estimates of hedgehog populations in different habitats across the country. It also wants to show how it changes year-on-year and, over time, provide an approximate number of hedgehogs across the UK.

The program will provide crucial insights into the factors causing the decline in hedgehog populations, the British Hedgehog Protection Society (BHPS) and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) said. This, they say, will allow conservationists to put practical measures in place to try to reverse the decline.

“We know hedgehogs face problems, particularly in rural areas, but before we can put practical measures in place to protect them, we need to understand where they are and why they are declining,” said program co-ordinator Henrietta Pringle.

“Everyone likes hedgehogs, but we realize that not everyone is able to help them in the wild. Becoming a ‘watcher’ as part of the National Hedgehog Monitoring Program is a great way for anyone to get involved. Now even those who have mobility problems, don’t have a garden or are studying at a university or college can help from the comfort of their own home,” said the head of BHPS, Fay Vassová.

“Helping hedgehogs has never been easier or more affordable, so we really hope people from all walks of life get involved,” she added.

The article is in Czech

Tags: British find hedgehogs declining Animals tracked artificial intelligence

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