Hedgehogs After Dark
This summer, discover and record the hidden lives of hedgehogs
Hedgehog Street, a nationwide campaign set up by wildlife charities the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), to halt the ongoing decline in native hedgehogs, has today [Monday 11th May] launched ‘Hedgehogs After Dark’.
This exciting new citizen science initiative asks Hedgehog Champions across the UK to record hedgehog behaviours. Over the course of several weeks Champions are being encouraged to carefully observe hedgehogs at a distance in their gardens, recording all the different behaviours they see. This will allow conservationists to discover, and better understand, the hidden lives of the UK’s hedgehogs this summer.
Following Hedgehog Awareness Week 2020 (which took place last week), Hedgehogs After Dark starts today [Monday 11th May] and will run until Sunday 26th July 2020. Hedgehogs are nocturnal mammals, so as the name suggests, the aim of this project is to record what hedgehogs are up to in the evening, when they are most active. So if, at dusk and after dark, you spot behaviours such as: feeding or drinking; travelling across a garden (or even better using a Hedgehog Highway); swimming in a pond; mating; grooming or nesting, Hedgehog Street wants to hear about it!
Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer for Hedgehog Street explains: “We know gardens are vital habitats for hedgehogs, but we’d like to understand exactly how hedgehogs are using them. To do this, we need the public’s help to tell us about any behaviours they spot, which will enable us learn even more about hedgehogs, and how we can best conserve them further. Lockdown is a great opportunity to watch, connect with and help our wildlife, so if you’re lucky enough to see a hedgehog in your garden, we’d love to hear about it and to find out what he or she is up to!”
Hedgehog Champions (members of the public who have pledged to help hedgehogs by making small changes to their gardens), can start logging any behaviours seen from today. Those who aren’t already a Hedgehog Champion but want to take part, can sign up (for free) online at Hedgehog Street. Participants can then record what they see in their garden on the Hedgehogs After Dark behaviour log and are encouraged to keep watch over the summer to report any new or repeat behaviours.
Those who take part in Hedgehogs After Dark will have the opportunity to win a free Hedgehog Hamper, crammed full of hedgehog goodies!
You can upload photos to social media using #HedgehogsAfterDark, and if you have a wildlife camera in your garden, you can upload your best videos to the Hedgehogs After Dark behaviour log too.
Learning more about the hidden lives of hedgehogs could really help this much loved species. The latest State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report, published in 2018 by BHPS and PTES, revealed that 50% of rural hedgehog populations and 30% of urban hedgehog populations have been lost since 2000. Tidy, fenced in gardens in urban areas and loss of hedgerows and intensification of agriculture in rural areas are just some of the factors contributing to this decline.
Hedgehog Street is working to combat these factors where possible, by encouraging people to make small hedgehog-friendly changes to their own gardens, which could make all the difference. To date, over 73,000 Hedgehog Champions across the UK have registered to help the nation’s favourite mammal, but more help is always needed.
To take part in Hedgehogs After Dark, visit: www.hedgehogstreet.org/Hedgehogs-After-Dark and to access top tips and FAQs on how to further help hedgehogs, download the Hedgehog Street app for free or visit: www.hedgehogstreet.org.
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For high res hedgehog images, interview requests, or for more information, contact Adela Cragg:
T: 07532 685 614
Notes to Editors
Available for interview
- Grace Johnson, 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 76,000 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 who is the Species Champion for the UK’s native hedgehog.
- The free Hedgehog Street app was launched in January 2020 and is available from the App Store or Google Play.
- Hedgehog Street is also liaising with farmers or rural landowners, housing developers and greenspace land managers, to help better manage their land to support wild hedgehog populations.
- 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, 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.organd follow PTES on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube & LinkedIn.