Hedgehogs are declining: the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018 report revealed that the population of the nation’s favourite mammal has fallen by half in the British countryside since 2000. Now, the two wildlife charities behind this report, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), who together run Hedgehog Street, have published a free guide aimed at land managers to help halt the decline in urban environments.
The guide, titled ‘Hedgehog Ecology and Land Management’, is aimed at those involved in the management of both public spaces and private amenity land. So for anyone working in green spaces within a town or city, including parks, schools, churchyards and recreational spaces, this illustrated booklet will provide some useful pointers about how you can help. Offering clear and detailed advice, it shows the different ways land can easily be managed to become more hedgehog-friendly.
This guide, which was created with the help of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, can be downloaded for FREE from: www.hedgehogstreet.org/hempguide. The guide includes advice about a hedgehog’s year and their life cycle, to help increase understanding of hedgehog hibernation. It also identifies the threats they face through: habitat fragmentation; the impact of roads, pesticides and machinery; predators and disease.
Emily Wilson, Hedgehog Officer at Hedgehog Street says: “Even though hedgehogs are listed as a UK ‘Priority Species’ under the NERC Act 2006, there’s no current legislation addressing the causes of their decline. In order to help support wild hedgehog populations in both urban and rural areas, and ultimately halt the ongoing decline, we need to change the way we manage our land.”
“Small management changes can dramatically improve areas of land for hedgehogs and other species, potentially reversing the dramatic decline we’re seeing and also enriching biodiversity more broadly. The decline of hedgehogs in our towns and cities appears to be slowing, but we have still lost around a third since the millennium. We want to work with managers of all types of urban green spaces and encourage them to make those few changes to land management practices that will help to bring hedgehogs back to the urban landscape – making hedgehogs a common sight once again.”
Hedgehog Street was set up in 2011 by BHPS and PTES and encourages people to make small hedgehog-friendly changes in their own gardens, which will make a big difference. To date, over 60,000 volunteer “Hedgehog Champions” up and down the country have registered to help. In addition, Hedgehog Street is working with academics, farmers and the UK government to understand the reasons for the decline and to make changes on a wider, national scale.
To help hedgehogs, register as a Hedgehog Champion and find out more information about hedgehogs on: www.hedgehogstreet.org.
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Notes to Editors
Available for interview
- Emily Wilson, Hedgehog Officer, Hedgehog Street
- Hugh Warwick, Ecologist and Author, BHPS
- Fay Vass, CEO, British Hedgehog Preservation Society
- Hedgehogs are in trouble. The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018 (SOBH) is the only comprehensive review of the status of Britain’s hedgehogs. This report revealed that hedgehogs in rural areas are in severe decline, with their numbers plummeting by half since the millennium.
- Urban hedgehogs are faring better. The SOBH 2018 report also showed that although hedgehogs have declined by a third in urban areas since 2000, the rate of decline is slowing. Hedgehogs are not disappearing from urban green spaces as rapidly as they were fifteen years ago and might even be returning. Where they are found, numbers too, appear to be growing in some places.
- Multiple factors are causing this decline. They are complex, and include: loss of hedgerows and permanent grasslands; the intensification of agriculture and larger field sizes; and the use of pesticides. Urban and suburban areas are becoming increasingly important for hedgehogs, but the move towards tidy, sterile gardens isolated from one another by impermeable boundaries has also contributed to their demise.
- But, there are lots of ways to help hedgehogs! Make a small hole in your fence to connect your garden with your neighbours; leave patches of nesting materials such as leaves and twigs, or provide a hedgehog house; put out supplementary food and water; record all sightings (alive and dead) on the BIG Hedgehog Map; and become a Hedgehog Champion.
- More research is being funded by BHPS & PTES. A range of academic research projects are currently being carried out, aiming to further scientific understanding about the causes for the decline and most importantly what can be done to reverse this threat to this iconic species.
- In 2015, PTES and BHPS launched a 10-year species conservation strategy at the first UK summit on hedgehogs in a decade.
- Hedgehogs are ‘Britain’s Favourite Mammal’, according to the 2016 Royal Society of Biology poll.
About Hedgehog Street
- Hedgehog Street is a joint campaign by wildlife charities: the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). It’s an ongoing project which was launched in June 2011 and encourages people to make small changes in their own gardens, which will make a big difference for hedgehogs. To date, over 60,000 volunteer “Hedgehog Champions” up and down the country have registered to help, but we always need more volunteers!
- Hedgehog Street is working with The Rt Hon Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom & Ewell and Secretary of State of Transport who is the Species Champion for the UK’s native hedgehog.
- Hedgehog Street is also liaising with farmers, housing developers and landowners, to help better manage their land to support wild hedgehog populations.
- In July 2018 BHPS and PTES produced a Farmers Advice Booklet, offering advice to farmers and other land managers on how they can help hedgehogs and other wildlife. To get a free copy email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can download a PDF online at: www.hedgehogstreet.org/farmersadvice.
- The charities’ Hedgehog Street garden won Gold at the 2014 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and People’s Choice Award in the summer garden category.
- Visit hedgehogstreet.org for more information.
- BHPS is a UK charity founded in 1982 dedicated to helping & protecting hedgehogs native to the UK. They run a helpline offering advice on caring for & encouraging hedgehogs in the wild and in gardens. They aim to educate the public on how best to help hedgehogs and fund research into the behavioural habits of hedgehogs to ascertain the best methods of assisting their survival.
- Visit britishhedgehogs.org.uk/ and follow BHPS on Facebook or Twitter.
- PTES, a UK conservation charity created in 1977, is ensuring a future for endangered species throughout the world. We protect some of our most threatened wildlife species and habitats, and provide practical conservation support through research, grant-aid, educational programmes, wildlife surveys, publications and public events.
- PTES’ current priority species and habitats include hazel dormice, hedgehogs, water voles, noble chafers, stag beetles, traditional orchards, native woodlands, wood pasture and parkland and hedgerows.
- PTES has Species Champions for three of its priority species: for hedgehogs The Rt Hon Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom & Ewell and Secretary of State for Transport, for water voles The Rt Hon Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central and Chair of the Brexit Select Committee, and for dormice The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
- Visit ptes.org and follow PTES on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.