Operation Hedgehogs first event, held at Mount Pleasant Ecological Park, Porthtowan, was a stunning success! Speakers included hedgehog expert Dr Nigel Reeve, Martin Goodall from ERCCIS, Amy Campbell from University of Exeter, Kathryn South from Prickles and Paws, and organizer Jenny Christie.
Since 2000, there has been a dramatic 50% decline in hedgehog populations. This could be due to climate change, habitat fragmentation, agricultural intensification, urbanisation, and lack of suitable nesting and foraging sites.
So what can you do to help hedgehogs?
> Hedgehog holes: help prevent habitat fragmentation by cutting a 13x13cm hole in your fence - hedgehogs need to wander and fences can stop this.
> Let you garden become a bit more messy: log piles, compost heaps and dead leaves all provide great foraging and nesting sites for hogs.
> Food and water: provide a meat based pet food or peanuts and a shallow water source, hedgehogs will not become dependent but they'll definitely appreciate it! Put under a box or in a hedgehog house to avoid cats.
> Litter: make sure all litter (especially anything a hedgehog could get stuck in) is put away, they're not the brightest and once they're stuck, they're unlikely to escape.
> Go pesticide free: most slug pellets and other insecticides are also toxic to hedgehogs and decrease their food source.
> Stop strimming: strimmer injuries are one of the most common reported in hedgehog hospitals, why not leave edges a little less tidy or check for hedgehogs before.
> Let nature run wild: a wild garden is much more attractive to hedgehog food sources, you don't need much space, just give a patch back to nature!
> Log records: hedgehogs are in decline but population sizes are only ever estimates, we need more records, the more we have, the more we can focus mitigation and funding on areas most at risk.
> Spread the word: it doesn't take much to help a hedgehog, tell people what you've seen, everyone likes a hedgehog!
> Make some noise: prefer advocacy? Then get in touch with your local authority, newspapers, land owners, schools, work, the majority do not know about the state of our hedgehogs!
Operation Hedgehog is non-profit and run on donations. Cornwall Mammal Group are proud to be supporting this fantastic cause.