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Project: Hedgehogs and Native Habitats

Location

England, UK

Summary

Hedgehogs are one of the most vulnerable wild mammals in the UK. This project in England establishes 'hedgehog highways' to enable them to move freely around their feeding territory, provides safe nesting sites, and engages school children in hedgehog protection, encouraging them to make their gardens hedgehog friendly. It also supports other British native wildlife.

Who is behind it?

The Save Me Trust and Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue, an animal charity established by Queen guitarist and animal welfare campaigner Brian May and Anne Brummer.

Why did we choose this project?

This familiar, lovable native is under pressure from modern farming practices, the use of industrial and domestic pesticides, habitat destruction and restricted movement around their territory. This project focuses on helping where it's needed to make a real tangible difference to British hedgehogs today as well as longer-term research and education to protect them into the future.

What do we most love about it?

Hedgehogs have an important role to play in our ecosystem. Mother Nature’s natural predators of slugs, snails and other ‘ugly buglies’, they keep pests under control which means gardeners don’t need to reach for poisons. Which in turn means a safer environment for other wildlife and humans too.

How does it work?

Hedgehog highways are created in locations around England allowing hedgehogs to move from garden to garden. This sounds simple, but most of us have impenetrable fences, which means hedgehogs cannot complete their usual circuit of up to a mile in search of perfect nutrition. Nesting and feeding boxes are added to these hedgehog-safe locations and their populations can be monitored. Any unwell hedgehogs arriving at the veterinary hospital are carefully monitored so we build a more detailed picture of the threats to our native mammals. The schools’ programme encourages children to transform their gardens into hedgehog safe zones.

What broader benefits does it bring?

Engaging and educating local communities brings wellbeing benefits to the people involved and helps create a broader wildlife support movement. Making a garden hedgehog friendly will have massive benefits for other wildlife and humans.

How will we know it's working?

Hedgehog populations in the project locations are monitored before, during and after the project, so we can see the impact we're having on real hedgehog populations.

By the way...

The project is inspired by Grace, an injured hedgehog was brought into the Harper Asprey wildlife Rescue hospital. She was in a bad way but, with some love and care, made an amazing recovery.

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