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Dead hedgehog very sad

Date posted: Friday 9th October 2020

Dead hedgehog very sad

A very sad discovery of this dead hedgehog lying on someone’s plot this Tuesday. Flora and I were both concerned that the animal looked to be in a healthy bodily condition – we thought it might be the victim of eating slugs that had ingested metaldehyde based slug pellets. But Rose later suggested that the hedgehog might have died after being accidently pierced by a fork while someone was turning a compost heap. There was a suppurating hole on the body and initially we thought it was where crows had started pecking, but more likely it was an injury caused by a garden fork. At this time of year not many people are putting in new plants that would require slug pellets around them. In all the time I’ve had my plot I’ve only ever seen three hedgehogs on our site. The first had been strimmed and sustained a leg injury; it was taken to a rescue centre but didn’t survive. The second was a large, healthy looking animal that was dead, in full view near the Seed Store. And now this one… Very sad, as they’re now officially categorised as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ – a far cry from a few decades ago when hedgehogs were commonly seen all over the UK. A group called ‘Hedgehog Street’ has initiated a campaign to mitigate the loss of hedgehogs in urban areas:
‘The decline in hedgehogs flags up concerns about the environment that affects us all. Although they have some national and European protection under Schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA) 1981, which prohibits killing and trapping by certain methods, and the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 and Appendix III of the ‘Bern’ Convention, they are still at risk. In 2011, PTES and BHPS started the Hedgehog Street campaign to reverse this decline
by inspiring the British public to help protect hedgehogs. Together we’ve recruited over 47,000 Hedgehog Champions to help conserve hedgehogs.

British gardens are becoming poorer homes for wildlife with increased paving, decking and reduced plant life. And with more roads and housing developments being built, we’re seeing a huge loss of connectivity between green spaces, leaving hedgehogs isolated. Hedgehog Street is improving urban areas for hedgehogs, with:
►more gardens and green spaces linked with ‘Hedgehog Highways’ in fences
►more wild areas and log piles in gardens for insects and other wildlife
►more hedgehog houses and feeding stations in gardens

We’re inspiring the British public to make their gardens hedgehog-friendly and recruit their neighbours to create Hedgehog Streets in their community. BHPS and PTES are also working with academics to research the reasons for hedgehog decline, as well as lobbying developers and land owners to mitigate for hedgehogs and help create hedgehog-friendly housing. Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, has been appointed as the Species Champion for hedgehogs to help promote their conservation in Parliament. A ten-year strategy is in place for
national hedgehog conservation until 2025.’ (www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk>pdf>sobh-2018)

There are commercially available slug pellets that aren’t based on metaldehyde which is toxic to wildlife; ‘Slug killers based on aluminium sulphate are not strictly organic, but they are environmentally friendly. They kill slugs and snails on contact with minimal risk to other wildlife or pets. Commercially available products using aluminium sulphate as active ingredient include Growing Success and Fertosan.’ (RSPB).

On a more positive note with which to end as we were walking back in the dusk yesterday evening a little owl flew across the site, uttering that distinctive call – a joy to see it but it flew past too quickly to get the camera out!