A new report has rung alarm bells about the rapid demise of Britain’s hedgehogs.
Since 2,000, the UK’s hedgehogs have declined by half in rural areas, and by a third in urban ones.
Now, there could be less than a million left.
The worrying statistics came to light in ‘The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2015’ – a new report launched in November 2015 by The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS).
According to the study, the loss of hedgerows and intensive farming in rural areas have played a key role in ‘hogs decline.
But gardeners’ actions have been part of the problem, too.
Tidy, fenced-in gardens in urban and suburban locations also threaten hedgehogs’ survival, the report said.
PTES and BHPS will launch a 10-year conservation strategy to help Britain’s hogs.
Hedgehog officer Henry Johnson said: “Hedgehogs are important because their presence indicates a healthy environment.
“To see an animal like this in decline is very ominous because they are, in many ways, so tolerant of human activity.”
Gardeners are being urged to make plots hedgehog-friendly to help these beneficial creatures.
Log and leaf piles, wildflower patches (circled), holes in fences at ground level, overgrown corners and hedgehog homes can all help threatened hogs to survive.
The two charities are appealing for more volunteers to join Hedgehog Street – an initiative that encourages people to make gardens hedgehog friendly.
Since its launch in 2011, over 36,000 volunteers have taken part.
Go to www.hedgehogstreet.org for details and tips.