An evaluation of thermal infrared cameras for surveying hedgehogs in parkland habitats

Clare Bowen 1 , Nigel Reeve 2 , Tess Pettinger 1  and John Gurnellhttp://orcid.org/https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8785-7514 3
  • 1 The Royal Parks, The Old Police House, Hyde Park, London, UK
  • 2 2 Paxton Gardens, Woking, GU21 5TR, Surrey, UK
  • 3 School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, E1 4NS, London, UK
Clare Bowen, Nigel Reeve, Tess Pettinger and John GurnellORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8785-7514

Abstract

We tested the effectiveness of thermal imaging cameras (TICs; model FLIR E60) for finding hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus (Linnaeus, 1758) while carrying out volunteer spotlighting surveys in parkland habitats in Central London. Systematic and standardised surveys were carried out in The Regent’s Park, London in spring and autumn from 2016 to 2018. Night-time surveys were carried out in seven designated zones within the park by groups of 4–6 volunteers, three (occasionally four) with bright torches and one with a TIC. Hedgehogs were detected on 316 occasions; 166 using TICs, 133 using torches, 11 by sound and six unassisted. Hedgehogs were detected at significantly greater distances with TICs [mean = 30 m, standard deviation (SD) = 22.8 m, n = 166] than with torches (mean = 12 m, SD = 11.2 m, n = 133). We conclude that TICs operated by volunteers were particularly effective at detecting hedgehogs in our parkland surveys and using TICs to supplement torches in spotlighting surveys should be tested in other places, especially where there is a considerable amount of open habitat.

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Mammalia is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the inventory, analysis and interpretation of Mammalian diversity. It publishes original results on all aspects of systematics (comparative, functional and evolutionary morphology; morphometrics; phylogeny; biogeography; taxonomy and nomenclature), biology, ecology and conservation of mammals.

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