St Albans hedgehog hero tells us how we can help stop extinction

Hedgehogs are now officially vulnerable to extinction, Picture: Supplied

Hedgehogs are now officially vulnerable to extinction, Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

After new findings revealed hedgehogs are at risk of extinction, we spoke to the founder of a local rescue centre to find out what can be done to protect the prickly creatures.

In the Red List of UK mammals most likely to die out, hedgehogs are deemed vulnerable alongside hazel dormice, Orkney voles, serotine bats and Barbastelle bats.

The London Colney Rescue Centre is a voluntary organisation which set up to help protect and save hedgehogs.

Founder Esther Chant said: “It is upsetting to hear our British hedgehog has now officially been classified as “vulnerable - extinction” on the Red List.

“However, them being listed on the British Red List is a massive opportunity for those of us campaigning to now push harder for the protection of their habitats.”

Esther said there is a need to increase the awareness of the importance of connecting their habitats together and preserve areas where they co-exist.

She added: “We must fight for our hedgehogs.

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“They were here long before us and humans are pushing them towards extinction. We must act now.”

Esther says some of the things you can do to help include:

- Hedgehogs need to be able to travel through several gardens a night. A five inch gap in a fence allows hedgehogs the freedom they need to find food and nesting opportunities;

- Chemicals are dangerous causing internal damage and even if not directly eaten they can be absorbed by the food they eat. You can use alternatives such as a beer trap for slugs;

-The hedgehog is known as ‘the gardener’s friend’ as it will eat slugs, beetles, caterpillars so if you have a garden a hedgehog is to be encouraged;

- Store chemicals off the ground;

- Use netting with caution. Hedgehogs are curious and get easily tangled in netting which in most cases leads to amputation and possibly with the hedgehog dying or having to be put to sleep;

- Ponds provide wonderful habitat for wildlife and hedgehogs can swim but they can also drown if they cannot get out of a pond so please ensure that there are gentle slopes around the edges.

London Colney Hedgehog Rescue was set up in 2012 and currently takes in 250-300 casualties per year.

To support the hedgehog rescue go to