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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." 
Margaret Mead, American anthropologist, 1901-1978

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Help a species - Hedgehogs

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 STOP the hedgehog decline

Hedgehogs have declined in number substantially over the last few decades.   Their numbers have gone from 36 million during the 1950s down to just under one milliion in 2015. 

Reasons for the decline in hedgehogs include:

  • Loss of hedgerows and permanent grasslands - partly because of intensive farming but also because of the disappearance of hedges in favour of less attractive fences
  • Use of pesticides, insecticides and other chemical products - they are all toxic and reduce the prey available to hedgehogs so there's less for them to eat
  • Many thousands of hedgehogs are killed on the roads every year in traffic accidents
  • People have smaller and tidier gardens with fences or walls which prevent hedgehogs moving from one garden to another
  • New buildings and roads are carving up habitat and hedgehog populations are becoming isolated, so they are vulernable to extinction in their own area

Research is being undertaken to find out more, and reporting your sightings of hedgehogs is an important part of this research - it helps identify habitats these much loved animals are using.   As hedgehogs are tending to use urban areas more and more, it is vital that people living in towns and villages help hedgehogs. 

Things are being done to help hedgehogs

There are a number of initiatives to help these tiny animals buck the trend.   One of these is the creation of a Hedgehog Improvement Area in Solihull in the West Midlands in the UK.   The area has been funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and it crosses a nature reserve, a public park and surrounding streets. 

Campaigners are trying to persuade people to cut a CD-sized hole in their garden fence to create wildlife corridors, so that hedgehogs can do the roaming they need to do.  

Another initiative comes in the beautiful Channel Island of Guernsey (famous for the Guernsey Tomato).  Here hedgehogs are being tracked by technology. 

But there's plenty of things people can do from home to help hedgehogs

Create a wildlife friendly garden

  1. Give hedgehogs a nesting box - Garden Wildlife Direct have hedgehog homes from £19.99
  2. In place of fences stick to hedges such as beech, holly, hawthorn, berberis, hazel or buckthorn
  3. Create a log or wood pile and a hedgehog might build a nest under it
  4. If you have a pond, give hedgehogs a way out such as a ramp so that if they fall in, they won't drown
  5. Don't use chemicals on your garden - they destroy the hedgehogs' prey
  6. Put out extra food such as meaty cat or dog food, hedgehog food, meal worms or chopped unsalted peanuts.  Give them water to drink (not milk). 
  7. Create a 13 cm square hole in your fence or wall so that hedgehogs can roam at night to find food and a mate.  (They actually travel 1 to 2 kilometres a night.) 
  8. Make sure there's no netting at a level hedgehogs can get trapped in and clean any litter up
    Let a corner of your garden run wild
  9. If you are having a bonfire, move it on the day you light it or build it the day you set fire to it.  Check before you set it alight for hedgehogs (and check for them before you do any strimming in your garden, too)

You can become a hedgehog champion by joining in at Hedgehog Street, run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.  So far, nearly 34,000 people have become hedgehog champions and are helping hedgehogs in their gardens and in their local area! 

The hedgehog is just one example of a change in our behaviour and actions can help a species.  

Business can help hedgehogs as well

Both KFC and MacDonalds have agreed to change their packaging, which was previously damaging hedgehogs.


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