The hedgehog population in Britain is in serious decline as the spiny mammals contend with increased intensive farming and road traffic, according to a new report.
The report, published by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) along with the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), suggests that hedgehog populations in rural areas are worst affected, with urban areas showing a slowdown of population reductions.
The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report claims that hedgehog numbers have fallen by around half since the year 2000.
The report says that rural hedgehogs are having to contend with the effects of intensive farming, such as the removal of hedgerows to create larger fields for crops, the use of pesticides which kill the hedgehogs’ food sources, and faster moving traffic on rural roads.
Urban hedgehogs are said to be doing better, possibly due to efforts to improve garden habitats and connectivity.
The report is an outline of findings from three separate surveys: the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden BirdWatch survey which included a count of mammals, the Mammals on Roads survey which counted roadkill, and Living with Mammals which surveyed 1,198 sites where mammals would be expected to be found.
BHPS and PTES are encouraging people to get involved in helping hedgehogs, for example by creating holes in walls and fences so that hedgehogs can pass through to neighboring gardens.