Public asked to help hedgehogs by connecting as many gardens as possible and submitting entries online
Two wildlife charities are asking members of the public to link their gardens this summer in a bid to help hedgehogs and find ‘Britain’s Biggest Hedgehog Street’.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, who together run nationwide campaign Hedgehog Street, are urging people to connect as many gardens in their area as possible. This will allow local hedgehogs to roam between them in search of food, mates and nesting materials – a small action vital for the species’ long-term survival.
The idea is simple: become a ‘Hedgehog Champion’ and connect as many gardens as possible via ‘Hedgehog Highways’ (a 13cm or CD case sized square gap under garden fences or walls), and then submit your entry online. Free dedicated invitations for Hedgehog Champions to share with neighbours explaining the idea, and window posters highlighting Hedgehog Highways, are also available online.
The highest number of gardens linked will be crowned ‘Britain’s Biggest Hedgehog Street’, with prizes including special Hedgehog Highway plaques and a hamper packed with hedgehog-themed goodies.
Prizes will be on offer for those on smaller streets too, so tell PTES and BHPS all about your Hedgehog Street even if you’re not sure if it’s big enough to win – think community effort, creative solutions and decorated Hedgehog Highways! Anyone can take part, from families and summer-school groups to university students and professionals. Existing ‘Hedgehog Streets’ can also enter, though expansion is recommended.
The search for ‘Britain’s Biggest Hedgehog Street’ will run over the summer holidays until Saturday 10th September. Throughout the summer, PTES and BHPS will be sharing hints, tips and examples on their social media channels, where the winner will be announced at the end of September.
Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer, Hedgehog Street explains: “Hedgehogs are a much-loved native species, and helping them, particularly in urban areas, is easy and affordable. We want to encourage people to get creative this summer – think about front and back gardens, as a street with five houses on could be part of a 20-garden ‘Hedgehog Street’. Tunnels could join gardens, or ramps can be placed between gardens on different levels. We know gardens can be havens for hedgehogs, but only if they’re connected to let hedgehogs in and out.”
Hedgehogs were listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ on the Red List for Britain’s Mammals 2020. And, earlier this year, BHPS and PTES published the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022 report which revealed that hedgehog populations have continued to decline in rural areas nationally since 2000, with some areas experiencing a loss of up to 75%. Thankfully, the picture is more positive in urban areas, with some populations even appearing to be recovering.
The reasons for the decline are complex, but two of the main pressures hedgehogs face in both rural and urban areas are lack of suitable habitat and habitat fragmentation. For top tips on how to help hedgehogs wherever you live, visit www.hedgehogstreet.org
Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer, Hedgehog Street adds: “We already have over 112,000 amazing Hedgehog Champions across the UK, but more help is always needed. We hope lots of people will talk with their neighbours and together help their local hedgehogs this summer.”
To find out more, or to enter your Hedgehog Street, visit www.hedgehogstreet.org/biggest-hedgehog-street
And, for inspiration and ideas of ways to help, keep an eye on BHPS (@hedgehogsociety) & PTES (@PTES)’ social media channels, and follow #BiggestHedgehogStreet.
– ENDS –
For high-res images and footage, or to arrange interviews, contact Adela Cragg:
T: 07532 685 614
Notes to Editors
Available for interview
- Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer, Hedgehog Street (a joint campaign between BHPS & PTES)
- Fay Vass, CEO, British Hedgehog Preservation Society
- Hugh Warwick, Ecologist and Author, British Hedgehog Preservation Society
- Nida Al-Fulaij, Conservation Research Manager, People’s Trust for Endangered Species
- Hedgehogs are in trouble. The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022 (SOBH) is the only comprehensive review of the status of Britain’s hedgehogs and was jointly published by BHPS & PTES. The SOBH report revealed that rural hedgehog populations have continued to plummet, declining by between 30% – 75% across different areas of the countryside since 2000. The largest declines are seen in Eastern England.
- In stark contrast, the SOBH report also showed that urban hedgehog populations are stabilising and may even be recovering thanks to greater awareness, and individual and community actions.
- The reasons for the decline are complex and are not yet fully understood. Two of the main pressures hedgehogs face in both rural and urban landscapes is habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. Urgent action is now needed to try and boost rural hedgehog numbers before it’s too late, whilst continuing the positive work taking place across our towns and cities.
- But, there are lots of ways to help hedgehogs! Make a Hedgehog Highway 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 112,000 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 Apple 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 gardenwon Gold at the 2014 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and People’s Choice Award in the summer garden category.
- Visit www.hedgehogstreet.org for more information.
- BHPS is a UK charity founded in 1982 dedicated to helping & protecting hedgehogs native to the UK. Through their campaigns, advocacy and educational projects they work to raise awareness of the practical steps we can all take to help reverse the decline of hedgehogs in the wild, improve their welfare and safeguard the future of this much-loved animal. They also fund research that provides important new insights into the conservation and welfare of hedgehogs.
- Visit www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/ and follow BHPS on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.
- 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 for dormice The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk.
- Visit www.ptes.org and follow PTES on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube & LinkedIn.