How To Help
Where To Find A Hedgehog Sanctuary
It's estimated that the number of hedgehogs in the UK has halved since the turn of the century, with only one million of these fascinating little creatures left on our shores. While that may sound like quite a lot, it becomes shockingly apparent how much damage has been done to the hedgehog population when you think there were around 30 million in the 1950s.
WHY ARE HEDGEHOG SANCTUARIES IMPORTANT?
There are a number of reasons for the decline in hedgehog numbers, but two in particular put incredible strain on our prickly little friends. The first is the loss of hedges and copses in rural areas, in order to create larger fields, which in turn have been inundated with pesticides and insecticides. Together with more and more people putting up fences and walls at home, hedgehogs have far less protection, struggle to find food and find it more difficult to identify appropriate places to nest.
Secondly, our hedgehog population has been severely affected by the explosion in the number of cars on our roads since the 50s, and the speeds at which they travel. A deeply saddening statistic reveals that up to 150,000 hedgehogs are killed by cars every year, with many more injured and in need of care. This is where your local hedgehog sanctuary charity can help, with organisations like this giving sick and injured animals a lifeline when they need it most.
How Can I Find My Local Hedgehog Sanctuary?
As with many other things these days, the best way to find your local hedgehog sanctuary charity is likely to be through a quick internet search. When you type 'hedgehog sanctuary near me' into a search engine, you should see a list of charities close to your location, while you can also click on a map to see all the options close to where you are. If you come across a sick or injured hedgehog, your search should give you a number of different options to visit or call. You could even save the details of your nearest sanctuary to your phone in case you should ever find one in a rural spot with no reception.
Can I Keep A Hedgehog In My Garden?
Despite their tiny little legs, hedgehogs are wild animals that roam up to two miles overnight, so keeping one in your garden is cruel. However, some rescue centres will place hedgehogs that are disabled in some way into secure gardens. This could mean animals that've had a limb amputated or are blind, so would struggle to survive in the wild. The ideal scenario is to release hedgehogs back into the wild once they recover, but if you do welcome one into your garden, you need to make sure you're ready for the responsibility. As well as making sure you have tall, solid fences with no gaps, hedgehogs also need feeding every night - including when you're away on holiday.
How To Help Hedgehog Sanctuaries
There are lots of different ways you could help a hedgehog sanctuary charity, including by volunteering your time. Few charities could function without the help of volunteers, while you could also work closely with these intriguing little creatures on a regular basis. The Wildlife Trusts opened the UK's first large-scale hedgehog sanctuary in the West Midlands in 2015, a sprawling 90-hectare refuge that relies on volunteers to help a huge number of animals.
Even if you're not volunteering, you can help hedgehog sanctuaries by making little changes to your garden where necessary. If you have solid fences, cut out a CD-sized hole so hedgehogs can pass through on their nightly rambles. You can leave water out over the warmer summer months, and things to eat like white meat, dry cat biscuits or specialist hedgehog food when the temperature starts to dip and meals are harder to come by.
If you're thinking of getting rid of your hedge for a new fence, don't. Or if you've already done this, why not switch back to a hedge, which could be particularly handy in rural areas? If you own land, don't get rid of hedges to open up your fields, and stay away from harmful pesticides. Another easy way to help hedgehog sanctuaries is to take more care when you're driving, keeping your speed down on country roads and helping to keep more of these amazing mammals safe.
WHERE TO GET STARTED
If you want to get involved with a charity that helps hedgehogs, why not see what volunteering opportunities are currently available with charities including the Wildlife Trusts.
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Last updated: 05/07/2021