23 July 2024

‘Hedgehogs are struggling – and they need your help’

By Rebecca Hannant

Hedgehog rescue centres in our region have been raising awareness of the need to make gardens more accessible and how to care for injured animals as part of a national campaign week.

In 2020, hedgehogs were added to the Red List for British mammals, meaning they are classed as “vulnerable” and at risk of extinction. The species has declined by nearly 50 per cent in the past decade as a result of habitat loss and animals being killed on roads.

As part of Hedgehog Awareness Week from May 1-7, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) has highlighted ways people can help, including making gardens accessible with a “hedgehog highway” – a small gap in the bottom of fences or walls – creating a log pile that will offer shelter and natural food, or building a hedgehog house.

If burning rubbish, people are urged to remove the pile to a new site on the day and check it carefully before setting light to it, and lighting from only one side so that there is an escape route for animals.

Gardeners should check areas carefully before mowing or strimming, and check compost heaps before digging a fork in. They should also stop using pesticides and poisons and cover drains or deep holes, ensuring there is an easy route out of ponds and pools.

BHPS chief executive Fay Vass said: “Hedgehogs are struggling and mostly that’s due to human activity. These small actions can help a great deal – a little effort from each of us could make life a lot easier for hedgehogs.

“If you don’t have a garden yourself, you can still help by contacting public space managers, neighbours, family and friends to ensure they are doing their bit.”

The charity also advises that if you see an injured hedgehog, place it in a small box with a blanket or a towel and take it to the nearest vet or hedgehog rescue.

One Holderness-based group, Lucky Hedgehog Rescue, nurses injured hedgehogs before releasing them back into the wild.

The rescue centre, founded by Lucy Felgate-Baumberg, was relocated from Kent to Grimston in July 2019. With help from public donations, a hedgehog hospital cabin was built in 2021, resulting in the centre being able to accommodate more than 100 hedgehogs. It has full veterinary support and is available 24/7 on 07590 756833. 

Lucy said: “It is going to be an exciting year ahead organising the new community status incorporated into our rescue. We are looking for volunteers over 18 to help. If you would like to get involved, please do get in touch. As we develop new ideas, they will be mentioned on our Facebook page and there will be information on our website, luckyhedgehogrescue.org.uk.

Holderness Hedgehog Hospital also takes in injured and sick hedgehogs and offers “adoption packs” including quarterly newsletters and regular updates. For more information, visit holdernesshedgehoghospital.org.