The UK hedgehog
It all started with The Times Christmas Charity Appeal to support the British Hedgehog Preservation Society by engaging with the garden-owners who are often unwitting custodians of the hedgehogs’ ecosystem. Having read the article and looked into the matter further, our Managing Director Rob Boughton (Rob) brought the plight of the nation’s much loved species the hedgehog to Thakeham’s attention, with some immediate calls to action.
As the MD of Thakeham, a developer and housebuilder based in West Sussex and operating within the area and throughout Surrey and Hampshire, the campaign struck a chord as he understood the impact Thakeham could have on the habitat of the hedgehog. Rob took action at once, forwarding the article to everyone at Thakeham to raise awareness and to communicate his plan to support the hedgehog in its natural environment. He made contact with Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport who recently released a petition to give the hedgehog better legal protection in order to reverse its decline, to guarantee Thakeham’s commitment to doing what it can to help. You can read more about Oliver Colvile’s campaign here
Making a difference
It is often the simple things that make a big difference; if enough of us get involved we can make that difference. Thakeham has committed to ensuring that the garden fences we put in place as part of our new homes developments have hedgehog holes or “doors”, which allow the hedgehog to pass freely between gardens and other areas. It surprised us to understand that hedgehogs can roam an area the size of an 18-hole golf course in one night. When fences suddenly appear in the middle of a hedgehog’s territory, it cuts off a vast area of foraging ground, which is why these simple holes are so important.
We have also pledged to build hedgehog hotels in suitable future developments. Where possible, hedgehogs will live under sheds, log or leaf piles and compost heaps but a well-placed “hibernacula” can provide good shelter in winter as well as a safe place to nest in the spring. You can find instructions for building a hedgehog hotel on Hedgehog Street’s website – click here
UK hedgehogs in decline
The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) believes there are now fewer than a million hedgehogs remaining in the UK, down from two million in the mid-Nineties and 36 million in the Fifties – it is time we all try to do something about this, before it is too late for the well-loved native species.
As Philip Larkin said, “We should be careful of each other while there is still time.”
Ensuring a positive future for the hedgehog
We hope that Thakeham’s actions will help to raise awareness for the UK hedgehog and demonstrate how small efforts can ensure this prickly friend is here for our children, grandchildren and future generations to enjoy. After all, this distant relative of the shrew has changed little in the past 15 million years, it would be a shame to see the back of his prickly back!
If you would like to find out more information, the national project called Hedgehog Street, backed by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, is a great place to start. You can visit the website here
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) is a registered UK Charity dedicated to helping & protecting hedgehogs native to the UK.
Hedgehog Street is a campaign aimed at ensuring the hedgehog, the UK’s only spiny mammal, remains a common and familiar part of British life. We know hedgehogs are in trouble. We’ve lost a third of all our hedgehogs in ten years.
The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) believes there are now fewer than a million hedgehogs remaining in the UK, down from two million in the mid-Nineties and 36 million in the Fifties.
We need to save our prickly friends click here
Hedgehogs may become extinct within 15 years click here
BBC News – MP Oliver Colvile calls for hedgehog as UK symbol click here
Save the Hedgehog Petition Launched! | Oliver Colvile click here
Spot the hedgehog and save it click here
The prickly problem of Britain’s disappearing hedgehogs click here