After many a post bemoaning the fact that I haven’t seen a live hedgehog in more than a decade I can finally and excitedly announce that last night, at about 10.30, I spotted a rather chubby little hedgehog making its way along the drive towards a combination of shrubs, weeds and fallen bird seed.
To begin with I thought that perhaps tiredness had overcome me to such a point that I was hallucinating, but as my wife saw the little critter first I quickly realised that this was in fact a living, breathing, occasionally scampering hedgehog. I was overjoyed and remain so knowing that there is atleast one out there around the garden (please don’t go near the road!).
And here he/she is:
Earlier in the year I posted about the plight of Britain’s hedgehogs; an e-petition has now been posted on the Government’s website which reads as follows:
“We urge HM Government to recognise the shocking decline in numbers of the British hedgehog. We urge HM Government to give the hedgehog the same legal protection as the otter, dormouse and red squirrel under section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.”
I urge everyone to not only sign the e-petition but to blog about it, tweet it, facebook it and to use any other means to spread the word so that hopefully these wonderful and essential creatures will one day soon be protected under law.
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.
Picture of a Hedgehog taken by Evelyn Simak and available via Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 01/06/2011 at 21:12.
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.