Dead hedgehog sparks hunt to find others on Scots island

Sniffer dogs and traps have been set up on the island.

Fears raised and hunt launched after dead hedgehog discovered on Scottish island of Barra iStock

Fears have been raised over the presence of hedgehogs on a Scottish island after one of the animals was found dead by the side of a road.

The creatures pose a threat to native wildlife and the discovery on Barra last week has sparked an urgent hunt.

Sniffer dogs are being brought in and a network of live traps are being set up in an attempt to confirm whether there are more on the island.

It has cost millions of pounds to remove hedgehogs from the Uists in the Western Isles.

Though not being native to the Outer Hebrides, a number were released in a garden in South Uist in 1974 as part of an effort to control slugs.

It is not clear how the hedgehog discovered on Barra came to the island. It is thought it may have been released by an individual unaware of the risk the animals posed or it may have hitched a ride on a ferry.

The RSPB has warned of the impact invasive non-native species can have.

NatureScot said: “Staff will search the areas with sniffer dogs and set up a network of live traps.

“Any hedgehogs caught will be relocated and released in a safe location.”

The RSPB added: “This evidence that hedgehogs are now on Barra is very worrying and shows the importance of biosecurity, including surveillance and preventative measures, to limit the spread of invasive non-native species.”

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