Crisis hits hedgehog population
By Trudi_B | Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 21:41
The west country's hedgehog population is being hit by a pre-Christmas crisis during which many may perish, it is feared.
Photo by Victoria Hillman
More than 100 of the much loved creatures have already been brought in to Secret World Wildlife Rescue after being found too weak and undernourished to hibernate through the winter.
Charity founder Pauline Kidner said the number of young orphans being received was unprecedented and for every one saved there would be many more who would die undiscovered.
"The summer wash out has been a calamity for our hedgehog population so much so that the animals we are seeing are underweight, suffering from a variety of ailments and clearly too weak to survive the winter in the wild," she said.
"With most of the cold months still to follow, we will need help with feeding our growing number of casualties so donations of cat and kitten food and kitten biscuits would be most welcome," said Pauline.
"Fifty years ago there were 30 million hedgehogs in Britain but now there is only an estimated 1.1 million so if we carry on at this rate they could be almost extinct in ten years," she said.
"What with all the rain, continuing loss of habitat and other related human factors, this must be the worst year ever for this much loved creature," said Pauline.
All the hedgehogs at Secret World in East Huntspill, near Highbridge, would be kept warm and well nourished until they could be released back into the wild next spring, she said.