You can probably remember when they were a familiar sight at night in gardens and hedgerows but that’s a fast-fading memory, as hedgehog numbers have halved in the countryside in the last 20 years alone.
To reverse this rapid decline Cornwall Wildlife Trust have launched an appeal to raise £25,000 to fund vital research, education, and lobbying work and coordinate hedgehog-saving, county-wide conservation action.
Cheryl Marriott, Head of conservation at Cornwall Wildlife Trust says, “Unfortunately many Cornish children are now saying they’ve never seen a hedgehog in real life. It’s a desperate situation and if we don’t act now hedgehogs could be lost forever.”
Laurence Miller, a 12 year old volunteer from North Cornwall, says “I don’t want hedgehogs to disappear forever so this is why I volunteered to help them by doing surveys for Operation Hedgehog.”
Hedgehogs are an important indicator of environmental health, as they feed on insects at the bottom of the food chain. A falling hedgehog population is a warning sign that nature is out of balance.
There are many reasons for their dramatic decline: the over-tidying of gardens and increased use of pesticides that have not only decimated their food supply but actually poisoned these gardeners’ friends, increased housing developments, intensification of farming, loss of habitat and food supply, the destruction of Cornish hedges.