The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is calling on the county’s residents to become ‘Hedgehog Heroes’ by recording their sightings of the prickly hedge-dwellers.
The Trust has this week launched its Hedgehog Citizen Science Campaign, designed to increase data on the location and number of hedgehogs across Wiltshire. Data collected by Wiltshire’s residents will be sent to the Wiltshire & Swindon Biological Records Centre and used to generate a report on the health of the county’s hedgehog populations and recommendations for local policy-makers.
Those joining the campaign will be sent regular updates and advice and materials to help them record their sightings and make their garden hedgehog-friendly. The Trust is also encouraging people to contribute photo diaries, video blogs and regular written updates to be shared throughout its hedgehog citizen science community.
The campaign is being supported by the Beatrice Gillam Memorial Fund, honouring the legacy of one of Wiltshire’s most ardent wildlife champions.
Dr Gary Mantle MBE, Chief Executive of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said:
“Sadly, UK hedgehog numbers have fallen by more than 30% over the past decade. Garden pesticides, contaminated water, loss of habitat, and traffic collisions have all led to a dramatic fall in hedgehog numbers and they have now largely disappeared from our countryside.
“However, they are a resilient, adaptable species, and by gathering the right information and encouraging businesses, landowners, farmers, and the general public to take action to protect hedgehogs, we can turn this situation around and bring this iconic species back from the brink.
“By joining our Hedgehog Citizen Science Campaign, the people of Wiltshire can play a vital role in saving the county’s hedgehogs. We need people to record their hedgehog sightings and monitor their behaviour and movements: gardens and local parks are hedgehog strongholds and often the best places to spot them, as these habitats provide a plentiful supply of food and potential nest sites for breeding, resting and hibernation.
“With people’s help as citizen scientists, we can start to build up data on hedgehog numbers across the county and identify where to best focus our conservation efforts.”
Those interested can join the campaign and log their sightings at https://www.wiltshirewildlife.org/hedgehog.