The nation’s favourite wild animal, our beloved hedgehog is in dire trouble but fear not, there is something that you can do right now to help them! Did you know that hedgehogs are currently only listed on schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Adding it to schedule 5 will confer more protection to hedgehog habitat. The most direct benefit of this will probably be that developers will have to consider hedgehogs when they build.
The number of hedgehogs in Britain is estimated to have dropped below a million, compared with nearly 30 million in 1950. To put this in terms that we can more easily quantify – you would have seen 30 times more hedgehogs 65 years ago then you do today. Last year I saw one hedgehog so I would have seen 30 had their population not declined so dramatically! That’s pretty astounding don’t you think. I bet there are children living in Scotland who have never even seen a hedgehog… I wonder if in another 65 years will they even know what a hedgehog is?
A petition has recently been launched to make it illegal to kill or injure a hedgehog or to interfere knowingly with places it uses to shelter. This means developers will need to take hedgehogs into consideration when developing land. One mitigating measure they could take would be to make a hole the size of a CD case in garden fences; this would allow hedgehogs to move freely from garden to garden.
If you would like to sign the petition, you can find it online by doing a web search for, ‘petition 121264’. At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament and they currently have over 14,000. They are well on their way, but the more signatures they have the bigger the impact they can make.
Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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