Hedgehogs in the UK are in serious trouble. Repeated studies have shown that the nation’s favourite animal is being wiped out. But hedgehog expert and author Hugh Warwick believes there is something we can do to save them.
A key cause of hedgehogs dying out is that our landscapes are being fenced off into ever smaller fragments.
If we can make sure new housing developments include ‘hedgehog highways’ (a simple 13cm hole in the bottom of a garden fence) then hedgehogs will be able to move freely between gardens to find the food and mates they need to survive.
This simple move would have a big impact on the UK’s hedgehogs – and it’s cheap and easy for developers to carry out, costing an estimated 50p per house.
Please sign the petition
Hugh has set up a petition to call on the Ministry of Housing and Planning to make hedgehog highways a legal requirement of new builds.
Please sign here at change.org/saveourhedgehogs, and help Hugh reach 1.5 million signatures (he’s nearly there).
What else can you do?
1. Help with this Mammals on Roads survey in order to collect important data
Put pressure on developers and builders to make hedgehog highways even before it is put into law. If you see a house being built in your area, ask the builders if they are making sure they don’t trap hedgehogs on the property.
2.Ask your local builders merchant to put up posters to raise awareness with their customers.
3.Create a hedgehog highway on your own property – see ideas here for how to do it
4. Register to become a hedgehog champion on hedgehogstreet.org
We can’t sit back and let hedgehog numbers keep plummeting. It’s estimated that numbers are already down 95% since the 1950s. We have to act now.
Hugh has been studying hedgehogs in the UK for over 30 years, has written three books about them and is a spokesperson for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. He is based in Oxford and recently gave a talk to Wantage Cafe Scientifique.