The battle to save British mammals continues

Posted on September 25, 2011


As you all know primates are my “thing”, or as some of my male colleagues like to put it: “you’re into monkeys?!” But today I’m going to deviate ever so slightly to mention the plight of the humble British hedgehog.

This species like so many primates are in rapid decline and one of the biggest factors threatening their existence is habitat loss and fragmentation.

Stuart Webb ITN's cameraman getting up close and personal with hedgehogs in Oxfordshire

Today at work I was asked to cover the report of the State of Britain’s Mammals, commissioned by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and carried out by experts from Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.

I was absolutely astounded to learn that in the 1950s there were around 30 million hedgehogs in Britain and now the figure is closer to 1.5million.

Hugh Warwick from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society told me these incredible creatures have been around since before the Ice Age and yet despite living through that, they are now dying out. This he says, is surely an indicator that ecosystems are changing and man has much to answer for.

Without corridors (small holes in the fence) between our gardens hedgehogs are effectively trapped. These mammals can forage for up to 2km a night so creating a small outlet into other open spaces is crucial. They eat all kinds of bugs as well as slugs and snails. The less work you do to your garden the better – patios and decking are not “hog-friendly”!  So if you want to help save a much-loved species, think twice before tiling over your garden.

You can read Hugh’s marvellous take on today’s filming here.

My dear friends in Ireland – BQ and Mr D have just sent through pictures of their latest visitors to their garden, which happens to be an eco-paradise. They started getting one regular hedgehog who has clearly spread the word that the food is great down the road and has brought along another wee fella and they think, possible their “Ma”.

This is how the Irish do it.....en mass! Hedgehogs in a Dublin garden

Posted in: Branching out