Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A Prickly Situation!

© Guardian

The beloved British hedgehog, adored by wildlife lovers around the country is said to be declining in numbers according to the BBC. The Mail Online has reported that in the 1950s hedgehog populations were around 30 million whereas now they are said to be potentially less than 1 million. A survey was undertaken by volunteers funded by Mammals Trust UK and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to determine wild hedgehog numbers in the UK.
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.
If they can do it so can you. How are you going to help protect the much-loved hedgehog? I think I might start leaving out food and water.

© Pugh Graphic

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