Gov. Hedgehog Champion Backs Campaign

© Jon Hawkins

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Hedgehog Hotspots campaign has won support from the Government’s Hedgehog Species Champion this week.

The backing from Chris Grayling MP comes as the charity celebrates one year since the launch of its project, which has recorded nearly 800 hedgehog sightings.

“We are thrilled by the response we’ve had from wildlife lovers across Surrey to our Hedgehog Hotspots campaign and we welcome the support of Hedgehog Champion Chris Grayling,” said Jim Jones, the Trust’s Living Landscapes Manager.

Mr Grayling, MP for Epsom and Ewell, has not only signed up for one of the Trust’s hedgehog adoption packs, he’s also borrowed a special ‘footprint tunnel’ to try to record the prickly creatures in his garden. 

“I used to feed hedgehogs as a child in the garden at home and my role as Hedgehog Species Champion is a good opportunity to help an animal that is so endangered at the moment,” he said.

“Our county has changed – we’ve got more developed areas, we’re got big housing challenges but actually right now the hedgehog population is recovering in urban areas, which is encouraging.

“The work that charities like Surrey Wildlife Trust do in getting communities engaged and helping with projects like Hedgehog Hotspots is really important. I hope everybody will keep an eye out for hedgehogs in Surrey.”

Hedgehogs used to be a familiar visitor to our gardens, but numbers have fallen by nearly a third since 2002 – they’re disappearing faster than tigers are worldwide. Back in 1950 the UK population was roughly 30 million, but fewer than one million hedgehogs are left and numbers are declining.

National Hedgehog Awareness Week, backed by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, runs from May 6th – 12th and is aimed at raising awareness about the plight of this adorable creature. Surrey Wildlife Trust is appealing for local communities to do their bit for hedgehogs and work together to make neighbourhoods more hedgehog-friendly.

“Take a look at our Hedgehog Hotspots map, to see if there is a hedgehog sighting near where you live,” added Jim. “Hedgehogs can travel over one mile every night and if there are no major barriers like rivers or busy roads, that hedgehog might visit your garden.

“Why not give the hedgehog a helping hand by cutting a hole in your fence to create access, make a hedgehog house and put out water and food like meaty dog food and encourage your neighbours to do the same. We can all do our bit!”

In his role as Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Grayling is working on the introduction of new road signs featuring a hedgehog, to warn motorists to look out for the prickly mammals. In the meantime, he’s going to set up the hedgehog footprint tunnel in his Epsom garden - this includes a patch of black ink to record the tracks of any nocturnal visitors passing through.

“I don’t think I’ve got any hedgehogs sadly – I live on quite a busy corner and I wouldn’t want them crossing the road there anyway. But I’m definitely going to give it a go!” he said.

The Trust can loan hedgehog footprint tunnels to schools and community groups – email outreach@surreywt.org.uk for details. To report a sighting of a hedgehog anywhere in Surrey - dead or alive - visit the Hedgehog Hotspots page.

The Trust’s Hedgerow Heroes project is working to protect and create habitats for animals like hedgehogs and you could help by signing up as a volunteer. You could also adopt a hedgehog for just £25, which includes a cute cuddly toy, a personalised certificate, a species fact sheet, a photo and a sticker.

Record a hedgehog sighting