Not everyone is aware of the plight of British hedgehogs. Since the start of this century, studies have estimated a drop by around 50% in their numbers. If, like me, you care deeply about all wildlife, this news is extremely concerning. Hedgehogs are wonderful creatures – unique, vital to ecosystems, and yes, adorable.
How to help our hedgehogs
So what can we do? Luckily, there are things we can all do to try and boost their numbers. If you have your own garden, leaving out water and food (such as dried cat food) will be a big help. At this time of year, hedgehogs are busy putting on weight to try and survive winter hibernation. Avoid the use of pesticides and create a compost heap if you can. If you feel like a bit of DIY you can also build your very own hedgehog hibernation house – here’s a handy ‘how to’ guide from the Wildlife Trust , or even cut holes in your fence to allow hedgehogs to roam freely between gardens.
Join the Hedgehog Friendly Campus team
Another excellent way to help out is to join Durham’s Hedgehog Friendly Campus team. This group was started by the wonderful Nikki Rutter to involve Durham in a nation-wide project, and we need passionate volunteers to help us! Our goal is to provide hedgehogs with a safe place to live on campus, to give them homes and to make sure that hedgehogs in Durham are thriving. Currently we are aiming for Bronze accreditation, given by the Hedgehog Preservation Society – Watch their short video on YouTube to find out more about the society and what it aims to achieve. https://youtu.be/Tqmus-bQlZ4
The Hedgehog Friendly Campus team runs events throughout the year such as litter picking, fundraising and surveying. I’ve already completed a hedgehog survey in my own garden, and there’s nothing quite like the excitement of rushing to the survey kit in the morning to check for evidence of hedgehogs. Incredibly, I woke up on two mornings to find little hedgehog footprints! They love untidy gardens, so that must be why.
Hedgehogs are officially classed as vulnerable to extinction and need people to care more than ever. I find it amazing that each of us is capable of making some change for the better. To me, helping even one hedgehog makes the whole project worth it – and I’m certain we’re going to do a lot more than that!
If you love hedgehogs (and most people do), please join our team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or find out more by following @Hogfriendly_dur on Twitter.