Are we driving hedgehogs to extinction?04/06/2019
A squashed hedgehog on the side of the road used to be such a common sight that a road safety campaign was launched on the back of it. Who over the age of about thirty doesn’t remember 1997’s King of the Road hedgehogs? Twenty years later it is rare to see a dead hedgehog, let alone a live one.
The Mammal Society estimated last year that Britain’s hedgehog population may have decreased by as much as 73% in the last twenty years. This means that any hedgehog sighting, whether the mammal is alive or dead, takes on a sobering significance.
Together with People’s Trust for Endangered Species and British Hedgehog Preservation Society the Mammal Society is looking at how we might reduce the number of deaths on roads for this already very vulnerable species.
Professor Fiona Mathews, the Mammal Society Chair, explains “We know that vehicles are still one of the main threats to hedgehog conservation. The most recent estimate of hedgehog road casualties, published in our journal Mammal Communications, is that between 167,000 and 335,000 hedgehogs are killed annually. So, we are trying to work out where and when casualties occur, in order that we can then take steps to prevent them. For example, we want to assess whether casualties are more common at the edges of towns and cities, or where there are features like walls or hedgerows leading up to roads that might encourage animals to try to cross.”
The team aim to complete the research this summer and will then use the information to make recommendations on preventing hedgehog road deaths.
The Mammal Society need help to raise £1,500 (their share of the funding for the #HogsOnRoads project). To make a donation, however small, please visit https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/9945 or visit the Ways to Support Us page on the Mammal Society website www.mammals.org.uk.
Note to Editors
About the Mammal Society
- The Mammal Society is a charitable organisation working at the interface of science, policy-making and practice. As the only society with an interest in all British mammals, its mission is to identify effective conservation strategies and to provide the scientific evidence-base for policy and practice.
- The Mammal Society recently completed the first review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals for more than 20 years. The Review was published by Natural England in June 2018, together with the Red List of Threatened Mammals for Great Britain. A technical summary of the Review and Red List are available on the Mammal Society website www.mammal.org.uk. Britain’s Mammals 2018, a fully-illustrated guide to the status of Britain’s mammals along with the complete 700-page Review are available from NHBS.
- The Mammal Society’s Review of the Status of Mammals in Wales will be published in September 2019.
- The Mammal Society’s Autumn Symposium “Sustainable Cities for Wildlife” will take place on Wednesday 9 October in London. For more information on Mammal Society Events and Courses go to https://www.mammal.org.uk/events/.
- The Mammal Society’s conservation work is supported through the generosity of our members. Currently our work includes investigating the causes of hedgehog declines and monitoring the status of all British Mammals with the help of citizen science volunteers. To join the Society visit www.mammal.org.uk.
- Visit mammal.org.uk for more information or follow the Mammal Society on Facebook @MammalSociety, Twitter @Mammal_Society, Instagram mammalsociety or LinkedIn
- The Mammal Society, 18 St John’s Church Road, London E9 6EJ. Registered Company Number 1455136 Charity Number 278918.
BHPS is a UK charity founded in 1982 dedicated to helping & protecting hedgehogs native to the UK. They run a helpline offering advice on caring for & encouraging hedgehogs in the wild and in gardens. They aim to educate the public on how best to help hedgehogs and fund research into the behavioural habits of hedgehogs to ascertain the best methods of assisting their survival.
PTES, a UK conservation charity created in 1977, is ensuring a future for endangered species throughout the world. We protect some of our most threatened wildlife species and habitats, and provide practical conservation support through research, grant-aid, educational programmes, wildlife surveys, publications and public events.