Gardening has become a popular past time over recent years and has resulted in walled gardens and increased paved areas, destroying the natural habitats for hedgehogs. The decline in hedgehogs has also been associated with more road deaths, modern farming practises and the loss of hedgerows that has left the hedgehog vulnerable to badger attacks.
Conservation charities have warned that unless urgent action is taken to protect this species the mammals could vanish from some parts of the UK by 2050.
Therefore, in an attempt to increase numbers, gardeners are being urged to take a few simple measures to help. These include:
· Removing a single brick from the bottom of a wall;
· Cutting a hole in a fence;
· Leaving patches of long grass;
· Putting out food and water (usually cat or dog food but never bread and milk); and
· Providing a hedgehog home.
In response to the latest figures, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society has got together with the People’s Trust for Endangered Species to launch a three year campaign to encourage people to get involved. It will include both funded research projects and a public participation campaign which is aimed at promoting hedgehog friendly gardening practices.
If you want to find out more information on how you can help take a look at the Hedgehog Street Campaign.
Several commercial organisations have also been getting involved in protecting this animal in recent years with fast food chain McDonald's agreeing to alter the deign of its ice cream containers which, according to the BBC, wildlife campaigners claimed were death-traps to hungry hedgehogs.