People across East Sussex are being encouraged to find out more about one of the countries most loved creatures during a national awareness week on Hedgehogs.
National Hedgehog Awareness Week runs 1 - 7 May 2016. East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) are inviting people to visit them outside Jollyes Pet Food Store in Hailsham today (2 May) and tomorrow (3 May) between 10am and 4pm, where they will have their large Hedgehog Educational Trailer as well as a table of information about hedgehogs. There will be a money off vouchers for hedgehog food, plus a raffle with prizes to win including a trip round WRAS’s Casualty Centre to see some hedgehogs, a Hedgehog Starter Kit and some “Old Prickly” Hedgehog Beer.
East Sussex WRAS will also be doing some hedgehog survey work on between 7pm and 11pm on Wednesday (4 May) in the Polegate and Westham area, where they will be survey for hedgehogs which have previously been in care. The same will be taking place in Seaford on Thursday (5 May) too. WRAS would like people who find a hedgehog that evening to ring their rescue line 07815 078234 where volunteers will be driving round and checking the hedgehogs found and scanning them for microchips to see if they are any of the hedgehogs previously released in those areas.
Hedgehogs are thought to be declining by about 5% a year, and although East Sussex has a good population East Sussex WRAS is getting called out to up to 500 a year across the county, main which have either been attacked by dogs, hit by cars, trapped in discarded netting, fallen into ponds and have been unable to get back out, stuck in drains, burnt in bonfires, caught by strimmers and lawn mowers as well as nests destroyed by cats much more.
“Hedgehogs are adorable creatures and the most common mammal we see at our Hospital” said Trevor Weeks founder of WRAS, “it is thought that one of the biggest reasons for the decline is people blocking hedgehog pathways when installing new fencing or proofing gardens so they can’t roam through large enough areas to find food or other hedgehogs to mate with in order to keep the population going. You only need a hole the size of CD for hedgehogs to get in and out of gardens.”
East Sussex WRAS has overwintered 96 hedgehogs this year of which they are in the process of releasing them back to the wild at the moment, “They are all ones which were born too late in the year or had health problems so were not fit enough to survive hibernation, they cost as much as £135 to overwinter depending on treatment and care needed. We are urging people to support their local wildlife rescue so that they can help save as many hedgehogs as possible and return them back to the wild where they belong” added Trevor.
Anyone wanting to make a donation to East Sussex WRAS can do so online or by phoning 01825 873003, or by post to East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.