Istanbul’s hedgehog population booming as a result of construction projects: Experts
ISTANBULExperts believe that hedgehogs have become more visible in Istanbul’s streets as a result of ongoing urban construction projects in the province, daily Habertürk reported on Aug. 9.
Hedgehogs are particularly sensitive to vibrations from construction works and have thus been disturbed by projects ongoing in many different districts of Istanbul, bringing them to the surface from their underground burrows, many experts say.
Murat Arslan, the head of the Chamber of Veterinaries in Istanbul, said hedgehogs have been crowded out by extensive construction destroying Istanbul’s last remaining green spaces.
“Hedgehogs have started the search for new living spaces due to vibrations created by constructions. They feel the vibrations in the earth’s crust. Earthquakes can also cause them to leave their living spaces. As green areas disappear, they face the risk of extinction. That’s why we can now see more hedgehogs in our gardens,” Arslan said.
Another vet, Tamer Dodurka, said hedgehogs were forced to leave their burrows due to the increasing number of energy transmission lines.
“Creatures with no living space left often show different behavior and descend into cities. Searching for a meal or living space could lead to this kind of behavior. For example, otters began to be seen in the Marmara Sea due to the drying up of fresh water sources,” Dodurka said.
Ahmet Emre Kütükçü, a member of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), also said hedgehogs are fond of cat and dog food left by locals for street animals.
“Istanbul may be a big city but it still has great wildlife potential. It is still possible to carry out projects that consider the priorities of wildlife,” Kütükçü said.