Hedgehog population may have halved in just five years

Hedgehog numbers could have dropped by as much as a half over the past five years, warns University of Sussex Professor Fiona Mathews ahead of the launch of a major new survey into their current population levels. She warned that a shortage of food could be a key reason for the hedgehog decline due to the conversion of lawns into parking spaces and the high use of pesticides in gardens.

The Mammal Society is launching its annual Hedgehog Watch survey which will run until December 1 and is encouraging as many residents as possible to take part in reporting hedgehog sightings. The survey data collected will be analysed at the University of Sussex. Prof Mathews, Mammal Society chair, said: "Although many people never see hedgehogs, in other areas they seem to be thriving. We need to find out why that is, so we can give start to help them to recover. Even a population decline at the lower end of estimates could be devastating if it continues unchecked. So we want people to tell us whether or not they saw a hedgehog last year. There is still a lot of uncertainty over how much hedgehog numbers are declining and that is why the Hedgehog Watch Survey is so important to give us a better understanding of the current situation."

Source: Pitchcare, 12 No 2017