The Last Hedgehog in Gloucestershire?
Hedgehogs used to be a familiar and well-loved visitor to our gardens, but with a continued decline since the 1950’s, will the hedgehog still be around to surprise and delight our children and our children’s children?
Surveys in recent years carried out by both the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species indicate that the numbers of hedgehogs are declining in both urban and rural areas.
Reports support the widespread and consistent anecdotal evidence of a decline in British hedgehogs.
Why are Hedgehog Numbers Falling?
Why hedgehog numbers are falling is not known for certain – intensive agriculture, loss of hedgerows and permanent grassland, use of pesticides, tidier gardens, new houses (with hedgehog-proof fences) and new roads have probably all played their part.
What we may well be seeing now is the accumulated impacts of all these factors, compromising the viability of our remaining hedgehog populations, isolating them into smaller pockets of suitable habitat meaning that they are far more likely to suffer local extinctions from single adverse events.
This map combines historic records held by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust up until May 2015 - given as grey shaded 1km squares - overlain by red dots which represent new records submitted online to the Trust from October 2015. A square highlighted in yellow means that hedgehogs had not previously been recorded in that square before this year’s online survey. You can add your own hedgehog sightings here - seenahedgehog
What's Our Plan?
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust will continue to gather sightings of hedgehogs in order to build up a picture of hedgehog distribution and in particular to identify hotspots where there appear to be good numbers of hedgehogs. We also want to carry out more detailed surveys of both urban and rural sites to find out more about hedgehog habitat preferences and take action alongside on-going survey to work to start to reverse the hedgehog decline. We will do this by:
Working with local communities to help them improve their local areas for hedgehogs
Establish the first hedgehog “Living Landscape” in the county where hedgehog conservation will be a priority
Work with developers in order to make new developments more hedgehog-friendly
- Raise awareness of what individuals can do to make their own gardens fit for hedgehogs