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10 ways West Berkshire residents can help hedgehogs

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March garden challenge launched

A native hedgehog Picture: Duncan Eames
A native hedgehog Picture: Duncan Eames

2021 marks the 10th birthday of Hedgehog Street, a nationwide campaign launched by wildlife charities People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS).

Hedgehog Street aims to encourage people to become ‘Hedgehog Champions’ - volunteers who pledge to make their gardens more hedgehog friendly - in order to help stop the ongoing decline of Britain’s favourite mammal.

Hedgehog Street is asking members of the public to do 10 things to help hedgehogs throughout 2021, which are:

A family friendly survey aims to find out if the UK’s gardens are hedgehog havens or if they’re in need of more hedgehog-friendly features in order to encourage more prickly nighttime visitors. Results from the survey will offer tailored advice to those who take part, suggesting simple improvements based on the answers provided.

Hedgehog officer for Hedgehog Street Grace Johnson, says: “We know how much people love hedgehogs, but also how much they’re in trouble. Gardens are a fantastic habitat for hedgehogs if they have the right features and are connected to neighbouring gardens and/or green spaces. Our new garden challenge will provide bespoke advice to everyone who takes part, so helping our native hedgehogs couldn’t be easier. We already have over 90,000 amazing Hedgehog Champions who have made their gardens hedgehog friendly, and hope in our birthday year we can make that 100,000!”

The latest State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report, published in 2018 by BHPS and PTES, revealed that 50 per cent of rural hedgehog populations and 30 per cent of urban hedgehog populations have been lost since 2000. Most recently, hedgehogs were listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ on the Red List for Britain’s Mammals, published in 2020.

Several factors are contributing to this decline. They are complex, and include tidy, fenced in gardens, busy roads in urban areas, habitat fragmentation, intensification of agriculture and increased pesticide use in rural areas.

Grace adds: “There is some good news for hedgehogs: our State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018 report indicated that the rate of decline in our towns and cities appears to be stabilising. That is why we’re really pushing for everyone to do 10 things for hedgehogs during our birthday year, to build on this positive step forward and to help save this beautiful and iconic species from further decline.”

Hedgehog Street also partners with local councils, Wildlife Trusts and academic researchers in order to better understand and solve the challenges hedgehogs face.

To find out more, visit: www.hedgehogstreet.org/happy-birthday-to-us

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