Hedgehog Sightings in UK Gardens Up by 2% After Years of Decline from 30% to 75% [Report]

The hedgehog population in the United Kingdom has been on a decline since the mid-20th century due to several factors, including wildlife trafficking, vehicle-related deaths, predators, and diseases. The significant decrease of mammals in the wild and even in UK gardens has become more evident since 2003. In garden ecosystems, the use of pesticides and the destruction of their homes are also attributed to the population decline.

Now, a new survey shows a slight increase in UK hedgehog sightings following years of decline in British gardens, according to reports earlier this week. The annual survey includes the collection of data based on the answers of respondents, if whether or not they have spotted a hedgehog in their gardens in 2023.

However, the said report does not provide the exact hedgehog population across the country.

Hedgehog Population Decline

Hedgehog Sightings in UK Gardens Up by 2% After Years of Decline from 30% to 75% [Report]
(Photo : Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash)

The hedgehog species (Erinaceus europaeus) is known for its cute appearance and small size but coated with thousands of spines along its back. These wild animals can be found not only in the UK but also in other parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and Asia. Their common habitats are grasslands, mixed woodlands, and urban gardens, where they can survive and thrive under the right conditions, according to British charity organization The Mammal Society.

Although the global hedgehog population and conservation status is “least concern,” the small mammals are “vulnerable” across the UK, including in England, Scotland, and Wales, the non-profit charity organization says.

In 2020, The Mammal Society reported that the UK hedgehog population is estimated to be 36 million during the 1950s but has dwindled to approximately 500,000, as 100,000 are killed by traffic each year.

Also Read: Wild British Hedgehog Population Shows Dramatic Increase, Conservationist Absolutely Livid

UK Hedgehog Sightings Increase

The most significant threat to hedgehogs is habitat loss involving the change from pastoral farming to arable crops, as well as the increase in field size due to the removal of hedgerows for the past 30 years, the organization adds.

Wildlife experts believe that the combination of natural and anthropogenic or human-induced activities has contributed to the struggle of the hedgehogs to bounce back their numbers.

On Monday, February 19, the survey mentioned earlier shows an increase of 2% points in hedgehog sightings in UK gardens, which is significant since a previous annual survey still showed that the animals are still on the decline. In addition, previous reports also show that poisonous pellets are ingested by slugs and snails, which are prey for the hedgehogs. This means that they can still die upon consuming their poison-stricken food.

Previous assessments of hedgehog populations estimate that they have declined by 30% to 75% across the UK countryside since the year 2000. In light of the 2023 survey, conservation efforts and action plans to protect hedgehogs in the UK are still a long way to go to prevent an endemic extinction of one of Britain’s most iconic animals.

Related Article: Hedgehog Population Declining in UK: Conservationists Call On Homeowners For Help [VIDEO AND PHOTOS]

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