The hedgehog is rapidly disappearing from Britain. Today the Mammal Society is calling on the public to help find out why.
Hedgehogs are thought to have declined by around a third over the past 10 years, and the reasons for the decline remain largely unknown. To help solve the mystery the charity wants members of the public to record when and where they see hedgehogs using its new Mammal Mapper smartphone app.
Derek Crawley, Atlas Officer for the Mammal Society explains:
“What we need people to do is to go on a night-time walk (about 45 minutes is ideal) and record the hedgehogs they see. This is a great half term activity for parents to take part in with their children – who will love being allowed to stay up a little later than usual! Even if you aren’t lucky enough to spot a hedgehog, you are likely to see lots of other mammals after dark, like foxes, badgers and rabbits, and all of those can be recorded on the Mammal Mapper app too.”
The good news is that hedgehogs are still found across most of Great Britain, but very little is known about where they are doing well and where they are not.
Professor Fiona Mathews, chair of the Mammal Society and Professor of Environmental Biology at the University of Sussex says:
“Despite being called a HEDGEhog, we have no idea of whether they are still found along hedgerows. It could be that the declines in the quality of road verges and hedges has had a major impact on the species. There is a huge amount of woodland in Britain and but no information at all on whether they are still hedgehog strongholds. Even in our cities and villages, we need much more information on precisely which areas are most important for hedgehogs — is it sports pitches, parks, canal banks or suburban streets?”
The Mammal Mapper app and Big Half Term Hedgehog Watch are supported by Hedgehog Street charities, People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Data collected via the Mammal Mapper app will complement the, mostly urban and suburban, records already collected by Hedgehog Street charities for the Big Hedgehog Map.
The Mammal Mapper app is free to download and available on android and iOS in app stores now phones.
Visit the Mammal Society website www.mammal.org.uk for more information.
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Photograph © Mammal Society/Dr Pat Morris
- The Mammal Society is a charitable organisation working at the interface of science, policy making and practice. As the only society with an interest in all British mammals, its mission is to provide the scientific evidence-base for effective conservation and management.
- The Mammal Society has conducted the first review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals for more than 20 years. It will be published by Natural England on 13th June 2018, together with the Red List of Threatened Mammals for Great Britain.
- Anyone who is interested in mammals, would like to support mammal conservation, access specialist information and benefit from discounted courses, should consider joining the Mammal Society today. Visit mammal.org.uk.
- The Mammal Society, 18 St John’s Church Road, London E9 6EJ. Registered Company Number 1455136 Charity Number 278918.