Azara Blog: Hedgehogs in decline

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Date published: 2005/06/30

The BBC says:

Hedgehog numbers across the UK are falling, particularly in the east of the country, a survey has found.

According to the Mammals Trust UK, hedgehog numbers have dropped steeply since 2001, when a survey to spot animals on roads began.

The idea behind the study is that the quantity of hedgehogs on roads can indicate the size of the UK population.

Experts say that, amongst other factors, tidier decked gardens are responsible for the animals' decline.

Hedgehog numbers have been falling a lot longer than since 2001. Back in the early 1980s there were so many hedgehogs that "Not the Nine O'Clock News" ran a (rather sick) sketch with truck drivers keeping track on their lorries of the number of hedgehogs they had squashed. In the 1990s hedgehogs were already less common, and now it is indeed unusual to see one in many parts of Cambridge. It is probably not just down to "tidy" gardens, but that does not help, and the BBC must take its share of the responsibility for that (through such dreadful programmes as "Ground Force", etc.). (Local authorities can also cause trouble if your garden is not "tidy" enough based either on their middle class sensibilities or on some ridiculous health and safety rule.)

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