By Jeni Bell

Hedgehogs are in crisis. With the UK’s hedgehog population falling by around 30% in as little as 10 years, less than a million of these compelling characters are left in the wild.

Going up against heavy traffic, a range of garden pesticides, habitat and access loss is no mean feat, and it’s becoming more and more apparent the hedgehog today needs human help to survive.

Luckily, the humble hedgehog has some local heroes, championing the species in the hope of preventing their numbers from dwindling further in Wiltshire.

Saddened by the number of dead hedgehogs on a busy stretch of road through the Chalke Valley, Bridget Fletcher and Russ Naine, from Bowerchalke, saw the need to raise awareness of these prickly pedestrians within the area.

Hedgehog crossing signs now stand from Broad Chalke to Stratford Tony, highlighting a high-risk route for hedgehog casualties. Bridget and Russ hope to prevent more losses by encouraging drivers to be more hedgehog aware.

Wilton resident, Bex Lyons, was thrilled to find several hedgehogs regularly visiting her garden. Her visitors motivated her to practice wildlife-friendly gardening in the hope of creating a hedgehog haven.

Leaving out meat-flavoured hedgehog biscuits, a shallow bowl of water and ensuring there are small gaps in the fences allowing movement, helps to encourage these nightly visitors, who can travel up to a mile each night foraging for food.

“We can all do our bit to help these charismatic creatures. Whether that’s being more hedgehog aware while driving, or leaving out the right kind of food (no bread, milk or meal worms). Even just leaving holes in fences is a great way to become a hedgehog hero,” hedgehog enthusiasts advise.

For more information and ideas on how you can help hedgehogs visit
hedeghogstreet.org

Jeni Bell is a wildlife writer and blogger based in Combe Bissett.
www.seekingwildsights.co.uk


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