New project launched on National Hedgehog Day
The ‘Dunbar Pledge-hog Project’ has become active even before our hedgehogs come out of hibernation, to launch National Hedgehog Day on Thursday 2nd February.
The local East Lothian project will be run by Sustaining Dunbar throughout 2023 and aims to connect both hedgehogs and people thanks to funding from the Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership. Residents of ‘Sunny Dunny’ will be encouraged to look out for hedgehogs throughout the year and asked to make a pledge to help these endangered mammals in their gardens or outdoor spaces.
Jen Walker, Dunbar Pledge-hog Officer says ‘Hedgehogs need us to provide them with more connected gardens and green spaces that offer food and shelter. Hedgehogs travel around a mile each night and can struggle to survive if the gardens they pass provide no access, lack hiding places or the creatures that they eat. By increasing hedgehog highways and making more natural areas available we hope to have a positive effect on hedgehog numbers here.’
In 2020, hedgehogs were put on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as vulnerable to extinction in Great Britain.
Thinking about what kind of habitat and food a hedgehog needs, helps us to plan and use our gardens in a different way. It encourages us to get outside and talk to our neighbours about creating a hedgehog highway, swap plants and seeds, and share our enthusiasm for keeping watch for these elusive creatures. In this way, the project aims to connect people, reduce social isolation, and have a positive effect on our mental health.
Here are some ways you can help hedgehogs in your neighbourhood:
- Make a gap of 13 cm square to allow access and link your garden with neighbouring gardens.
- Leave an area of grass to grow longer.
- Sow native wildflower seeds.
- Plant a native hedge.
- Start a log pile in a quiet, shady area.
- Pile up any leaves in a sheltered corner.
- Build or buy a hedgehog home.
- Leave out a shallow dish of water.
If you live in Dunbar and want to find out if you have a hedgehog visiting your garden, you can also borrow a night-time camera and feeding station from the project for free, which were bought thanks to funding from Dunbar Community Council’s ‘Community Benefit Fund.’
Sightings of any hedgehogs, wherever you are in the UK, can be easily plotted online on the ‘Big Hedgehog Map’ (bighedgehogmap.org) which is run by ‘Hedgehog Street’, a joint initiative between the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species.
Jen urges ‘If you see any hedgehogs (alive or dead) please do plot them on the Big Hedgehog Map. We will be using this to monitor their distribution throughout the town. Please do also get in touch as I’d love to find out about anything that you might be doing to make your garden or green space more hedgehog friendly.’
Keep an eye out for upcoming hedgehog events on this website and in our newsletter. For any more information please email: email@example.com or join the Dunbar Hedgehog Group on Facebook.