Hedgehogs seem to be everywhere on the internet, but have been dwindling in numbers within their natural habitats in the UK. http://hedgehogstreet.org of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, report as much as a third of the spiny population have dissapeared, due to a shrinking habitat. This is largely because British hedgehogs, who eat common garden bugs and pests, have less access to gardens they can call home. According to the Preservation Society, the ability to come and go through gardens freely is essential to hedgehogs, who need to roam for mates and forage. hedgehogstreet has placed heavy emphasis on building ‘links,’ or holes in fences, so hedgehogs may traverse from garden to garden, even including a map of hedgie territories.
hedgehogstreet is inspiring a strong movement for British citizens everywere to “garden for wildlife,” in both rural or suburban settings. As many as 30,000 participants are involved in providing a variety of gardens, hedgehog homes, and backyard entryways for Britain’s hedgies. Many Brits are making an effort to naturalize (or even create from scratch) gardens to make a safe haven for hedgehogs, through organic gardening or planting native flora. By making these changes and joining hedgehogstreet the gardener may, in true British fashion, be dubbed a Hedgehog Champion.
A Hedgehog Champion performs their duties by hosting a hedgehog friendly habitat via links through fences, and hedgehog homes such as a wood pile or compost heap. Most importantly, Champions own an eco friendly garden for hedgehogs to occupy. As many as 3,866 Hedgehog Champions have made registered hedgehog homes in their own backyard and host 2,007 hedgehog holes, and that was in 2014!
An Eco-friendly Movement
A beautiful aspect of this hedgehog revival are the dual benefits for aiding hedgies and the environment. By setting gardens and practicing organic gardening, hedgehogs are not the only ones who will be recieving benefits. Butterflies, bees, and other pollinators will definitely enjoy an increase in food supply, which will assist their population health as well.
Cool, I Want to Help!
If you’re a British resident, you can directly support hedgehogstreet by becoming a member on their website, and recieve great tips, support, and guidelines to being a Hedgehog Champion. Not a British citizen? Spread the word via internet! Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook make a wonderful start to spreading awareness about native British hedgehogs. Ask Britain’s People’s Trust for Endangered Species what you can do to help on their facebook. Or, you can donate directly to hedgehogstreet here.
Luckily for the hedgehogs, they are loved throughout the world, and their future looks bright, if not prickly for the present!
By Tiffany Magennis