"Gone in 15 years, the hedgehogs that are fighting to survive ...... Garden favourite is one of 10 species at risk of vanishing from Britain"
- David Millward, The Telegraph (August 2011)
Sad but true, hedgehogs could disappear from Britain within 15 years, a study has warned. Once commonplace, they are among 10 indigenous species(including the cuckoo and the red squirrel) to have suffered the most dramatic decline over the past century.
The reasons why?
According to Dr Bunnell who runs a hedgehog sanctuary near York, there are a number of reasons ........
- Pesticides have eliminated much of their food such as caterpillars and beetles.
- A reduction in habitat which has seen the mammal move into residential areas where they face the problems of rat poison, the strimming and mowing of lawns and garden ponds etc.
- Garden fencing/walls. Used to being able to go from one garden to another in search of food because of fencing/walls they can't do this anymore.
- Motorists - over 50,000 hedgehogs a year are run over by cars, lorries etc.
Not the only dangers though, in the latest edition of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS)magazine, the following are also sited as a danger........
- Broken glass
- Rubber bands
- Plastic bags
- Four/six pack rings commonly found around drink cans
- Yoghurt pots
- Plastic cups
Notice what they all have in common?
Yes, all of these problems are caused by ........
So how can we help?
- How about leaving a patch of garden to grow wild? This will not only be appreciated by our prickly pals but also by many other creatures.
- A nesting box can be acquired fairly cheaply.
- Provide food and water. Tinned cat/dog food and water please. NO bread and milk.
- Use wildlife friendly slug pellets.
- Beware when gardening, bonfires are a particular hazard and should always be checked before they are lit.
- Escape netting should be placed at pond sides which enables the hedgehog to climb out. Make sure this netting is of such a size that a head cannot become stuck causing strangulation.
- Be road aware. Special alerts are available - ultrasonic, wind activated whistles they deter animals from the roadway.
- Discard of litter properly.
- Carefully break down plastic pots and cups.
- Crush tins.
- Cut four/six pack rings and rubber bands and ask your postman/woman not to discard their red rubber bands by leaving them lying on the ground.
- OR how about raising money for the BHPS? This can be done in a number of ways including the collecting of used postage stamps/old coin etc, donating online, buying goods from the 'hogologue' which has a wonderful selection of hoggy goods, and using 'bay for charity' as a means of selling unwanted goods whilst raising funds for the charity. All methods can be found on the BHPS website as detailed below.
For further reading:- To see the full article by David Millward click HERE, to visit the BHP website click HERE AND for further hedgehoggy reading see 'Sites I Frequent' on my blog sidebar.
Oh and one last thing if you are on FaceBook how about becoming a friend of BHPS? Simply type in 'British Hedgehog Preservation Society' and away you go.