Despite living surrounded by woodland I haven’t seen a hedgehog for years. I’m sure they are out there but it is worrying that I haven’t even caught a glimpse of one.
In an article byAndy Bloxham he highlights that during the past decade hedgehog numbers have declined by upto a quarter on the back of an increase in the use of decking and fencing in gardens and the paving over of front gardens for parking, the consequence of which is that hedgehogs are prevented from being able to move around to feed, mate and nest. These problems are exacerbated by the decline of natural habitats, such as the loss of hedgerows, and the use of pesticides. It is also pointed out that hedgehogs are used as an indicator as to the general health of the landscape and of insect populations and, therefore, have an important roll to play in environmental science.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society are launching a three year campaign together with the People’s Trust for Endangered Species to raise awareness of the plight of the hedgehog and to get us all involved in helping to stabilise and then hopefully improve their numbers. The project is called Hedgehog Street and is also being championed by Springwatch on the BBC.
So come on folks, make some gaps in your fencing (or better still, remove fencing all together and put in some hedging) and your decking so that hedgehogs can get around, feed, and mate; put a couple of log piles around for hedgehogs to hibernate in, remembering not to disturb them; let a patch of garden get overgrown so that hedgehogs can forage for food; and leave some water out for them, especially in this dry weather.
If we do these few things then we might be able to help reverse the decline in hedgehog numbers and help restore the population of these charming little creatures to a state of good health.