More people have seen a hedgehog in Dunbar than ever before!
It can be extremely difficult to see a wild hedgehog, as they are very elusive creatures. However, it has been revealed that in 2023 more East Lothian residents in Dunbar have managed to see them.
This is mostly thanks to Sustaining Dunbar’s ‘Pledgehog Project’, which has been encouraging locals to look for signs of them in their gardens, as well as lending out night-time cameras to try to spot them.
Jen Walker, Dunbar Pledgehog Officer explains, ‘As the year comes to an end, it has been fantastic to look back and to count all the reports of hedgehogs. There have been over 50 sightings (in different places) of hedgehogs in 2023, which is more than double the sightings of any previous year. Hedgehogs have also been recorded regularly on camera in the grounds of Dunbar’s Lammermuir House Care Home and Dunbar Primary School Nursery’s ‘Beehive’ wildlife garden, where residents and nursery children have been thrilled to watch the footage.’
Jen Walker -Dunbar Pledgehog Officer at an event at Lammermuir Care Home
She continues, ‘Although this is positive news, it’s important to say that this doesn’t mean that there are suddenly more hedgehogs in Dunbar. They can travel around a mile each night, so some of these sightings will most likely be the same animal. Hedgehogs still really need our help as they’re classed as ‘at risk of extinction’ in the UK!’.
However, the project hopes that local people will make a real difference to the Dunbar hedgehog population by being inspired to make the town more hedgehog-friendly – allowing safer routes to travel with ‘hedgehog highways’, providing more natural environments to find the bugs that they eat and water to drink, as well as creating places to shelter and nest.’
Alex Davey, who lives in Dunbar, enthused about her hedgehog encounter, ‘We were enchanted to view a hedgehog on the very first night that we used the camera and most nights thereafter. It was wonderful to watch him coming and going, and to learn his habits. One night we caught an amazing film of him catching and eating an enormous worm! The whole family has learned a lot about hedgehogs from the project and we now have a real incentive to keep our garden chemical-free and to make improvements to benefit wildlife’.
Jen adds, ‘Why not make a New Year’s resolution to encourage hedgehogs into your garden or outdoor space? Here are three top tips of things you can do in January to help hedgehogs.
#1 – check if there’s a 13 cm gap in and out of your garden (the size of a CD case) and if not then cut (or dig) a hole to allow them to get in and out or to travel between neighbouring gardens.
#2 – plant some native hedging while you can get it cheaper as bare root plants.
#3 – pile up any twigs, branches, logs and leaves in a sheltered, undisturbed place which is in the shade all year round. This might be used for shelter or even to nest or hibernate in.
If you are lucky to see a hedgehog, wherever you are in the UK, it can be easily plotted online on the ‘Big Hedgehog Map’ (www.bighedgehogmap.org) which is run by ‘Hedgehog Street’, a joint initiative between the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species. You can also look at the map to see if a hedgehog has been seen near you.’
The Dunbar Pledgehog Project has been run by Sustaining Dunbar throughout 2023 thanks to funding from the Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership. It hopes to find new funding for 2024 to continue to engage with the community and to build new partnerships and initiatives to benefit hedgehog conservation.
To find out more about the project and how to help hedgehogs, please visit: www.sustainingdunbar.org/projects/thepledgehog-project or email: email@example.com
Local Dunbar children setting up a hedgehog house in their garden (sisters Violet Brunton (left) and Amber Brunton (right)