Postcards have been distributed across Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to help the plight of hedgehogs; The Wild Watch ‘Hedgehog Watch’ is asking the general public to send in sightings of hedgehogs across the AONB.
Alice Crosby, Wild Watch Project Officer, said:
“We’re keen to get the public involved in the plight of hedgehogs as they are declining at an alarming rate. As well as spotting a hedgehog, we want to raise awareness on the practical things you can do to help protect one of the nation’s favourite creatures.”
Reports suggest hedgehogs could become extinct in pockets of the UK by 2025. Hedgehogs are being lost from the countryside at a faster rate than in the cities, due to intensification of agriculture, road kill and predation.
The Wild Watch is a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It is currently hosting its biggest ever wildlife survey in the AONB. The team works to engage local people with wildlife hosting regular talks, events and training sessions to help volunteers acquire the natural history skills they need to collect data on the threatened species of Nidderdale. The data is used to inform conservationists’ work on safeguarding species and habitat.
“All data will be sent to the North and East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre and National Biodiversity Network. It’s vital information for researchers to help safeguard the future of the species. The more we know about them, the better we can protect them. Working together, we can help our hedgehogs.”
Hedgehogs are an important resident in the UK as they are natural pest controllers of slugs and other insects.
The postcards offer a simply way for the public to take part, by simply sending in the date, time and location of the hedgehog sighting, and whether the hog is alive, dead or roadkill. The Freepost postcards will also be available in pubs, doctors and post offices around the AONB.
Create hedgehog homes (stack up logs, pile of leaves and brash)
Cut a hole the size of a CD case in the bottom of your fence/ wall to create a hedgehog highway. If we link up surrounding land then we can increase the connectivity of hedgehog populations and increase their numbers.
Put out water and food (they like cat food) for hungry hedgehogs.
Check for hedgehogs before using power tools in the garden or lighting bonfires.
Slow down on roads, especially between dusk and dawn when hedgehogs are active.