Public asked to help hedgehogs by connecting as many gardens as possible and submitting entries online
Two wildlife charities are asking members of the public to link their gardens this summer in a bid to help hedgehogs and find ‘Britain’s Biggest Hedgehog Street’.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, who together run nationwide campaign Hedgehog Street, are urging people to connect as many gardens in their area as possible. This will allow local hedgehogs to roam between them in search of food, mates and nesting materials – a small action vital for the species’ long-term survival.
The idea is simple: become a ‘Hedgehog Champion’ and connect as many gardens as possible via ‘Hedgehog Highways’ (a 13cm or CD case sized square gap under garden fences or walls), and then submit your entry online. Free dedicated invitations for Hedgehog Champions to share with neighbours explaining the idea, and window posters highlighting Hedgehog Highways, are also available online.
The highest number of gardens linked will be crowned ‘Britain’s Biggest Hedgehog Street’, with prizes including special Hedgehog Highway plaques and a hamper packed with hedgehog-themed goodies.
Prizes will be on offer for those on smaller streets too, so tell PTES and BHPS all about your Hedgehog Street even if you’re not sure if it’s big enough to win – think community effort, creative solutions and decorated Hedgehog Highways! Anyone can take part, from families and summer-school groups to university students and professionals. Existing ‘Hedgehog Streets’ can also enter, though expansion is recommended.
The search for ‘Britain’s Biggest Hedgehog Street’ will run over the summer holidays until Saturday 10th September. Throughout the summer, PTES and BHPS will be sharing hints, tips and examples on their social media channels, where the winner will be announced at the end of September.
Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer, Hedgehog Street explains: “Hedgehogs are a much-loved native species, and helping them, particularly in urban areas, is easy and affordable. We want to encourage people to get creative this summer – think about front and back gardens, as a street with five houses on could be part of a 20-garden ‘Hedgehog Street’. Tunnels could join gardens, or ramps can be placed between gardens on different levels. We know gardens can be havens for hedgehogs, but only if they’re connected to let hedgehogs in and out.”
Hedgehogs were listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ on the Red List for Britain’s Mammals 2020. And, earlier this year, BHPS and PTES published the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022 report which revealed that hedgehog populations have continued to decline in rural areas nationally since 2000, with some areas experiencing a loss of up to 75%. Thankfully, the picture is more positive in urban areas, with some populations even appearing to be recovering.
The reasons for the decline are complex, but two of the main pressures hedgehogs face in both rural and urban areas are lack of suitable habitat and habitat fragmentation. For top tips on how to help hedgehogs wherever you live, visit www.hedgehogstreet.org
Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer, Hedgehog Street adds: “We already have over 112,000 amazing Hedgehog Champions across the UK, but more help is always needed. We hope lots of people will talk with their neighbours and together help their local hedgehogs this summer.”
To find out more, or to enter your Hedgehog Street, visit www.hedgehogstreet.org/biggest-hedgehog-street
And, for inspiration and ideas of ways to help, keep an eye on BHPS (@hedgehogsociety) & PTES (@PTES)’ social media channels, and follow #BiggestHedgehogStreet.