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domenica 1 novembre 2015

The Last Hedgehogs

The nocturnal creatures are being driven to the brink of extinction by a combination of climate change and garden goal nets




Hedgehogs could be wiped out in just 10 years.
The nocturnal creatures are being driven to the brink of extinction by a combination of climate change and garden goal nets.
Experts and conservationists are meeting to discuss plans to save Britain’s most iconic wild animal at a Help for Hedgehogs conference.
And while changing weather patterns are believed to be playing havoc with the creature’s hibernation habits, chain link fences and garden netting is also killing large numbers.
Hedgehogs will be particularly vulnerable in the coming months as babies born late struggle to gain enough weight to survive through the winter.
Environmentalists are urging wildlife lovers to look out for underweight baby hedgehogs that will perish during hibernation season.
One wildlife centre is gearing up for an influx of 200 underweight hoglets in the next few months.
Hedgehog expert Dr Nigel Reeve said: “The hedgehog is one of our most popular wild animals but it is now on real trouble and declining fast in Britain.”
Hedgehog numbers are believed to have fallen to around one million since the 1950s, when an estimated 30 million inhabited our countryside and gardens, according to figures from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
In the past decade their numbers have fallen by ten percent, a rate of decline which will see them wiped out in a decade.
At the conference, which is being held at the Royal Horticultural Society in Ripley, Surrey, speakers will lead calls for a campaign to open connected neighbourhoods of gardens for hedgehogs to roam through by cutting holes in fences and digging tunnels under walls.
It is hoped this will extend habitat areas for hedgehogs and allow them to wander further away from roads.
Simon Cowell is founder of the Wildlife Aid Foundation which looks after hundreds of hedgehogs a year.
He said: “They are in trouble because of man’s continual encroachment. Two of the biggest problems they face are chain link fences and football nets.
"We are always getting called out to rescue hedgehogs which have got entangled in both.
"Anti-freeze is also a big problem. People spill it on their driveways and hedgehogs are attracted to the sweet taste.
"Once they ingest it, they suffer internal injuries and die.”
The wildlife rehabilitation centre he runs in Surrey is expecting around 200 baby hedgehogs this year.
He said: “Hedgehogs have second broods at the end of summer and once the temperature drops if they are not around 600 grams they will not survive hibernation.”

Hedgehogs could be extinct in just 10 years as they battle deadly garden goal nets NICK HARDING 25 OCT 2015 

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