Cornwall's hedgehogs are disappearing - you can help them

Hedgehog without a home by Tom Marshall

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,

It’s small wonder that hedgehogs are the UK’s favourite mammals - but they need our help and it’s something that can only be solved by this generation.

Turning the situation around will be a big undertaking, but an achievable one. To deliver real and lasting success, Cornwall Wildlife Trust is leading ‘Operation Hedgehog’ in partnership with Cornwall Mammal Group, Prickles and Paws Hedgehog Rescue, and the University of Exeter. The project aims to engage with the widest possible audiences; education and influence are key, so Cornwall Wildlife Trust will be working with land managers, developers and policy makers to ensure that hedgehogs and their habitats are factored in when it comes to rural development and new building projects. Across Cornwall, in towns and villages like yours, Cornwall Wildlife Trust will be working with schools and supporting volunteer community groups, including the Women’s Institute, to improve suburban management of private and public spaces.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust teams are ready; they just need your support! Donations will enable them to run expert and citizen surveys across their nature reserves to identify the whereabouts and sizes of hedgehog populations so that they can be monitored. Funds will also give Operation Hedgehog the tools and resources they need to spread the word and build homes for hedgehogs to give them every chance to thrive.

There is much to do and so little time, the more you can give to Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Hedgehog Appeal, the faster they can save our Cornish hedgehogs.

Did you know the Cornish word for hedgehog is ‘sort’? The collective noun for a group of

hedgehogs is an ‘array’ or ‘prickle’

Your donation will be vital for funding these ambitious activities. Play your part to make sure hedgehogs once again become a familiar sight throughout Cornwall for generations to come.

How to donate:  Securely online at www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/hedgehogappeal