An awareness raising campaign will see over 100,000 homes across Staffordshire receive an information packed booklet highlighting the vulnerable plight of hedgehogs.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is joining up with six other Wildlife Trusts across the Midlands to stage the campaign informing people about hedgehogs, whose numbers have dropped dramatically – with 95 per cent of the population being lost since the 1950s.
‘The Last Hedgehog in Staffordshire?’ campaign will see the Trust offering tips and advice on how people across Staffordshire can help hedgehogs by making a few changes in their gardens. The booklet will encourage people to become a member of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to help fund vital habitat restoration work that will benefit hedgehogs, and new joiners will be receive a guide showing them how to help the hedgehogs on their patch.
The Trust also wants people across Staffordshire to send in their sightings of hedgehogs to help monitor population trends and distribution.
James Dennison, fundraising and membership manager for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “It has been reported that hedgehog numbers are declining faster than the tiger and some experts have warned of possible extinction within the next 10 years.
“The question the campaign is raising is – ‘when did you last see a hedgehog?’ They are steeped in nostalgia but the truth is not many people have actually seen one, especially in recent times. Only one in five of us have seen one in our gardens.
“We want people from across the county to send in their sightings of hedgehogs so we can build a better picture of their plight within the county.”
To help hedgehogs and the challenges they face on a daily basis, from roads that divide habitats to gardens laden with slug pellets, the Trust is encouraging people in Staffordshire to create a hedgehog friendly garden.
This can be done by:
Create hedgehog highways
Cutting a hole in your garden, around 13cmx13cm (5in) allows hedgehogs to roam far and wide in search of food, mates and nesting sites. You can then add your hedgehog hole to the national network at HedgehogStreet.org.
Avoid the use of pesticides
Ditching slug pellets and avoiding the use of pesticides is another way to help. Hedgehogs are natural “pest” controllers and need a plentiful and varies supply of invertebrate prey to stay healthy.
Providing nesting sites
Log and leaf piles, wilderness areas and purpose-built hedgehog homes make great places for hedgehogs to nest and hibernate. Fallen leaves also make the perfect nesting material so make sure you don’t clear all of these away.
To send in a hedgehog sighting to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, head to:
People can give hedgehogs a helping hand by carrying out just a few of these tips. To become a member of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and receive your hedgehog guide, call 01889 880100 or visit www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/membership.