Egg-eating hedgehogs in Western Isles threaten to push seabirds to extinction

Hedgehogs introduced into South Uist threaten sea birds

source: Matthew Beard
Independent August 4 2001 p9

Hedgehogs have been introduced to islands in the Outer Hebrides where they are threatening the survival of sea birds by eating their eggs. Number of snipe, lapwing, dunlin, and other ground nesting birds have dropped, and hedgehogs are seen as the culprits.

Researchers cleared an area in South Uist of hedgehogs, and found that birds there were more successful at nesting. Hedgehogs outside the protected nesting area were found trying to enter it to find eggs. The results of the study have been reported in Journal of Applied Ecology.

The hedgehogs were thought to be insectivores, when they were introduced in 1974. British legislation does not allow foreign species to be introduced to parts of Britain, but such restrictions do not apply to relocations of native species.