During the 2016 hedgehog season, I came across many dead or dying hedgehogs and hoglets. Not being able to help them broke my heart as such I started researching what I could do to help. I found that the species is in decline, both in rural and urban areas. These quotes, taken from Hedgehog Street’s website, really shocked me:
“We appear to have lost around 30% of the population since 2002 and therefore it seems likely that there are now fewer than a million hedgehogs left in the UK.”
“Hedgehogs now appear to be declining in the UK at the same rate as tigers are globally – at around 5% a year, both in rural and urban habitats.”
I made the decision that I would do what I could to help hedgehogs in my area. I spent time learning how to care for these sick and injured mammals, and, having become a member of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), booked onto a Hedgehog First Aid, Care & Rehabilitation course run by Vale Wildlife Hospital.
Following the completion of this course I put my name onto the list of registered carers for BHPS and have been inundated with calls from people, from as far as Grantham, asking for my help. As such, I founded Dowsdale Hedgehog Sanctuary. The aim of the sanctuary is not only to care and rehabilitate hedgehogs and hoglets, it is also to educate people on how they can provide the best habitat for hedgehogs living in their area. I am currently putting together an array of educational information and presentations that I can deliver to local communities.
Once rehabilitated, the hedgehogs in my care are released back into the wild. I try to release them in the same location in which they were found, however, this is not always possible. As such, I have various other suitable release sites on standby. Should hoglets be found late in the season, and do not reach the weight of 600g in time to hibernated, these juveniles are hibernated in an outside stable. By doing this we can monitor their progress and provide adequate food and water to increase their chances of surviving the winter months.