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Conservation Strategies: Western European Hedgehog

Conservation Strategies

Erinaceus europaeus – Western European Hedgehog

1. Critically evaluate the role of conservation in the protection of biodiversity
2. Critically review conservation strategies (in-situ and ex-situ)

Students will work individually to investigate and critically evaluate the full range (UK and European) of legislation and guidelines for this species. Students should evaluate the role of legislation in the protectio of the european hedgehog species.
Examples of conservation strategies (both in-situ and ex-situ) should be described for the same species. Each strategy should be critically reviewed in terms of biological and economical factors.

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Further guidelines for the Conservation Strategies Assignment

Introduction 5%
Full range of legislation 10%
Critically evaluate effectiveness of legislation 35%
Range of conservation strategies 10%
Critically review conservation strategies 35%
Citation and Referencing 5%

Don’t spend too long on a section that is only worth 5% or 10% 

Introduction – introduce your species, include a picture, brief review of the threats to your species.

Full range of legislation – list all relevant pieces of legislation and give a BRIEF overview of what they do/how they protect – this should only be a couple of lines per piece of legislation. What punishment is there for breach of legislation? All legislation can be found on the big list of legislation – see link on moodle.

Critically evaluate effectiveness of legislation – List the threats to your species and in another list, name all the ways in which legislation protects your species (e.g. killing, sale, possession). Compare the two lists – do any of the pieces of legislation you have listed try and stop the threats happening? Are there already examples of prosecutions relating to your species?

Some useful discussion points:

Kill – Legislation says do not kill it – is this a threat to your species? E.g. being told not to kill a pine martin or red squirrel – well good luck in finding one in the first place! Death of either of these two species is likely to be accidental or due to some other factor. If you did kill either of them – you probably trapped and shot it – leaving no evidence – you are in a rural area anyway – who knew or saw you? Say you did knowingly kill your chosen species because you wanted to build an extension or destroy its habitat – you were found out, prosecuted and fined – well the law has worked and you have been punished..but will this have any great impact on the saving of your species from extinction? Prosecution for killing 5 newts/badgers/squirrels may mean a prison sentence and you have been punished, but does this happen enough to make such a big difference to the overall conservation status of your species? Good legislation perhaps for otters, means you can’t hunt them (this was a bit threat once).

Possess or sale of species – some speceis are collectable e.g. bird eggs, reptiles. This may stop you from stealing eggs or taking a wild bird into a private collection. However, look at the number of people from the RSPB crime lists (links from legislation PP) who are prosecuted REPEATEDLY for stealing eggs. The penalty is clearly not enough.

There is no legislation to prevent inbreeding! If this as a threat to your species – legislation will not help.

Traffic accidents – can not legislate against this either!

Poisoning – illeagal to do – poisoned bait needs to be left outside, so could be taken by wrong animal. Dead body is evidence of death. But what if you dispose of the body?…who would know it was dead? Legislation may help species that are poinsoned in that it may deter people perhaps?

You must always remember that legislation is only as good as the reporting of it. Is your species resident in remote areas? If so, how many crimes will be found out here?

Habitats – some species suffer from habitat neglect. There is no legislation that could prosecute you from failing to manage habitat – only destroying it.

For a 1st it wants you to look at future changes to legislation – again links can be found on the legislation PowerPoint. Also consider that if we vote to leave the EU this year we will no longer be bound by their legislation.

Range of conservation strategies  – describe each one (plenty of examples to be found in local BAPs), say who the main organisations are that are involved and explain how they are carried out. For example habitat management for red squirrels is overseen by the red squirrel survival trust and is carried out by the forestry commission. It involves planting and managing tree species to encourage reds. Remember that this section is only worth 10% so only give brief details for each strategy.

Critically review conservation strategies –    Are the conservation strategies working? For each strategy e.g. habitat management, captive breeding, education, pond management, neutering of pet cats etc review in terms of the following (where appropriate):

  • Economics (cost), practicality (easy/difficult, how many people needed etc.), time scales (long growing time of trees, length of breeding cycle, repeat every year, etc), success (how is success measured? Have numbers inc/dec/stayed the same/increased but no breeding yet etc.) and the potential to increase population sizes and distribution (and anything else appropriate)

Many species will have their own Local Biodiversity Action Plans that have been written in response to them being present in a certain area. E.g. Anglesey has a Local BAP for red squirrels that says how they will protect them locally but Leeds does not as there are no reds in that area! You can use these as evidence of how well the conservation efforts are working as many have reports on progress.


Although BAP’s are present due to legislation saying they should be (NERC etc Priority Lists) they are really a conservation strategy.

Conclude with a justification of your opinion on the likely survival for your species.