Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effect of translocation and temporary captivity on European hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus rehabilitation success in Bristol, Hereford and Worcestershire, England

Published source details

Molony S.E., Dowding C.V., Baker P.J., Cuthill I.C. & Harris S. (2006) The effect of translocation and temporary captivity on wildlife rehabilitation success: an experimental study using European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus). Biological Conservation, 130, 530-537


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide supplementary food during/after release of translocated mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A controlled study in 2004 in 20 suburban gardens in Bristol, UK (Molony et al. 2006) found that translocated and rehabilitated European hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus that were provided with supplementary food after release all lost body mass and some did not survive, but the effects differed with release type. Directly translocated hedgehogs (<6 days in captivity) had a lower eight-week survival probability (41%) and a larger reduction in body mass over this time (33%) than did resident hedgehogs in release gardens (survival: 95%; body mass reduction: 5%) and hedgehogs kept in captivity prior to release (survival: 82%; body mass reduction: 9%). Over the same period, rehabilitated hedgehogs (survival: 73%; body mass reduction: 13%) and resident hedgehogs 3 km away (survival: 64%; body mass reduction: 10%) had statistically similar survival and body mass loss as directly translocated hedgehogs. Only one translocated hedgehog survived seven weeks after release. Between May and June 2004, hedgehogs were translocated to gardens in Bristol: after rehabilitation in a wildlife hospital (20 individuals, >1 month in captivity) in Scotland, directly from Scotland (20 individuals, <6 days in captivity); and from Scotland with >1 month in captivity (23 individuals). In addition, 23 free-living resident hedgehogs were captured and re-released <50 m from release gardens, and 26 free-living resident hedgehogs were captured and released >3 km from release gardens. Food was provided during the first week after release. Hedgehogs were radio-tracked over eight weeks. Hedgehogs were weighed every 10 days.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)

Hold translocated mammals in captivity before release Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A controlled study in 2004 in 20 suburban gardens in Bristol, UK (Molony et al. 2006) found that after being held for a period in captivity before release, translocated European hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus had higher survival rates and lower body weight loss than did individuals translocated with minimum time in captivity. A higher proportion of hedgehogs translocated after over a month in captivity survived (82%) and they lost less body weight (9%) over the eight weeks following release compared to individuals translocated after less than six days in captivity (survival: 41%; reduction in body weight: 33%). Over the same period, 64–95% of non-translocated hedgehogs survived and these lost 5–10% of body weight. Between May and June 2004, forty-three hedgehogs were translocated from the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, to 10 suburban gardens in Bristol. Twenty-three had spent >1 month in captivity and 20 had spent <6 days in captivity. Food was provided during the first week after release. Translocated hedgehogs were radio-tracked over eight weeks. Over the same period, 20 free-living hedgehogs captured and released <50 m from the same set of 20 gardens together with 26 free-living hedgehogs caught and released at gardens >3 km away were monitored. Hedgehogs were weighed every 10 days.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)

Rehabilitate injured, sick or weak mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A controlled study in 2004 in suburban gardens in Bristol, UK (Molony et al. 2006) found that most rehabilitated European hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus survived over eight weeks after release back into the wild. The probability of rehabilitated hedgehogs surviving more than eight weeks after release into the wild was 73%. However, over the same period, resident wild hedgehogs in the same study area had a survival probability of 95%. Body weight decline in rehabilitated hedgehogs (13%) was similar to resident hedgehogs (5%). However, the night range of rehabilitated hedgehogs (0.58 km2) was smaller than that of resident hedgehogs (1.67 km2). Between May and June 2004, twenty rehabilitated hedgehogs were released, one each in 20 suburban gardens. Food was provided during the first week. Rehabilitated hedgehogs and 20 wild hedgehogs inhabiting the same gardens were radio-tracked over eight weeks. Hedgehogs were weighed every 10 days. No details about the rehabilitation are provided.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)