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Over 2,000 hedgehogs spotted across Wiltshire last year

Picture credits: Pixabay, Alexa_Fotos

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have released a report that shows that 2,131 hedgehogs were spotted across Wiltshire last year.

It's after the Trust asked people to record sightings between July and November 2019, as part of efforts to better understanding the population of hedgehogs across the county.

Hedgehog populations have almost halved across the UK according to recent studies, with estimates suggesting there are fewer than one million of the animals left in the country.

Most of the Wiltshire sightings came in urban areas or near major roads.

The Trust's report sets out the reasons for why numbers have declined and how vital they are to the ecosystem.

Simon Sanghera, co-author of the report and Manager of the Wiltshire & Swindon Biological Records Centre, which is analysing the data from the campaign, said:

“Citizen science is not only really popular but is also a vital part of scientific research – with the ever-increasing rate of human-influenced environmental disturbance and climate change, it’s essential for us to monitor and understand what’s happening to the wildlife around us.

“Hedgehogs are an important indicator species, telling us the extent to which the natural environment is in a state of good health.

"The successful movement of hedgehogs across the landscape, for example, can indicate good connectivity between green spaces.

“We’re thrilled with the response to this hedgehog citizen science campaign, and the resulting data gives us a better understanding of where hedgehogs live, feed, and breed across the county.”

Louise Ruddell, co-author of the report and Fundraising Executive for the Trust, said:

“The response to our Hedgehog Hero campaign from the people of Wiltshire has been fantastic, and alongside recorded sightings, we’ve received a flurry of photos, videos, and stories of hedgehogs in and around where people live.

“The data in this report will help direct our hedgehog conservation efforts and give us a better understanding of how we can protect this iconic species for the future.

"For example, we will be looking to take action to reduce the number of hedgehog casualties caused by traffic on major roads across the county.

“We’d like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who has participated so far in what is such an important project.

"We’ll be reopening the call for citizen scientists to record their hedgehog sightings in the summer, so there’s still plenty of time to get involved!”


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