A third of our hedgehogs have been lost in the UK in the last ten years and now over 34,000 volunteers are helping to stem the decline. But as Hedgehog Street, a national campaign led by British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), enters its fourth year, the charities are calling on more people to help their efforts by launching The BIG Hedgehog Map online where people can record their sightings of hedgehogs (dead or alive) and pledge to make a hole in their garden fence.
There are about half a million hectares of garden in the UK, a vast potential resource for hedgehogs. A simple action such as creating a small hole the size of a CD case in shared garden boundaries removes physical barriers for hedgehogs, which typically travel about a mile each night in order to gather food and search for a mate.
Fay Vass, CEO of BHPS says: “To reverse the decline of hedgehogs we need to know where they are, and we need to maintain their living spaces. Please help by telling us when you see hedgehogs and make small holes in your garden fences to create hedgehog highways all across the country. By acting together we can really benefit the species.”
Achievements since the launch of Hedgehog Street in 2011 include:
• 6,622 gardens linked
• 3,929 hedgehog homes created
• 7,243 natural feeding areas established
• 4,776 hazards such as poisonous slug pellets removed
• A Gold medal and People’s Choice award for the Hedgehog Street summer garden designed by Tracy Foster at the 2014 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
To record your hedgehog sighting on The BIG Hedgehog Map and make your pledge to create a hole for hogs visit www.hedgehogstreet.org
More hedgehog advice and tips can be found on www.hedgehogstreet.org or by visiting upcoming events around the country:
– Hedgehog Street garden at WI Centennial Fair, Harrogate International Centre, North Yorkshire, 3-6 September
– Hedgehog Street garden at RHS Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire from 24 October
– Hedgehog-themed Wild About Gardens Week with the RHS and Wildlife Trusts, nationwide, 24 October to 1 November
– Hedgehog Street: The Day of the Hedgehog, Telford, Shropshire, 21 November.
– ENDS –
For further information, images to arrange interviews contact: Jane Bevan or Susannah Penn at Firebird PR on 01235 835297 / 07977 459547 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW
– Henry Johnson, PTES Hedgehog Officer
– Fay Vass, CEO of BHPS
NOTES TO EDITORS
• Wildlife charities PTES and BHPS launched Hedgehog Street in June 2011 to encourage hedgehog conservation action at a local community or neighbourhood level. Over 34,000 volunteer “Hedgehog Champions” up and down the country have registered to help to date and the campaign is ongoing, but we still need your help to make a difference. www.hedgehogstreet.org
• An independent study (The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs) commissioned by PTES and BHPS from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) in September 2010 established clear scientific evidence of the decline in hedgehog populations across the UK. In 2013, PTES also published a long-term trend analysis based on their Living with Mammals and Mammals on Roads surveys which showed that hedgehog populations have plummeted by over a third in the last ten years.
• The reasons for the decline in UK hedgehog numbers are complex, but are thought to be associated with the loss of hedgerows and permanent grasslands; the intensification of agriculture and larger field sizes; and the use of pesticides which reduce the amount of prey available. 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.
• A range of academic research projects, funded by PTES and BHPS, also aim to further scientific understanding about the causes for the decline in hedgehog numbers and most importantly what can be done to reverse this threat to this iconic species.
• The hedgehog was voted as Britain’s National Species in a 2013 BBC Wildlife poll.
About PTES – www.ptes.org
PTES is a UK conservation charity created in 1977 to ensure a future for endangered species throughout the world. Working to protect some of our most threatened wildlife species and habitats, it provides practical conservation support through research, grant-aid and educational programmes, including wildlife surveys, publications and public events.
About BHPS – www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk
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.