Today we took part in an two mile walk organised by the Diocese of Gloucester and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. The purpose of the walk was to raise awareness of climate change ahead of the climate change talks taking place in Paris next month. On the way we stopped in Gloucester Park, St. James’ Park, and Finlay School, where there were biscuits, and craft activities involving fir cones and coloured ribbons. When we reached Robinswood Hill, a pear tree was planted.
The walk took a couple of hours, and although it was sunny, there was a cold wind, so we decided against walking to the top but went to the café at the bottom of the hill instead.
Yesterday was Guy Fawkes night, and many people will be lighting bonfires this weekend. Before you strike the match, spare a thought for hedgehogs who may be hiding in among the sticks.
The hedgehog population in the UK is dwindling. There are now only about a million left in the UK, and they could die out altogether. As a child I remember finding the little creatures in the back garden and feeding them with cat food. It makes me sad to think that my children have never seen a hedgehog (except for dead ones in the road) and may never get to see a live one. It’s not just bonfires that are killing hedgehogs; cars are a big killer (hence the dead hedgehogs on the roads.) Our gardens are another factor in the decline in the hedgehog population. We like neat, tidy gardens with decking and paving. This destroys the hedgehogs’ habitat and makes it harder for them to find food. They can become entangled in garden netting. We use pesticides to kill unwanted visitors such as slugs, but we may not realise that these are toxic to hedgehogs too.
Here are some ways you can help to stop this decline in the hedgehog population and save them from extinction.
It’s best to put the bonfire together the same day that you intend to light it, leaving no time for hedgehogs to move in.
If your bonfire has already been in position for a few days, you might like to move it to another location so that you can check that no hedgehogs are hiding inside.
Avoid using slug pellets and look for a hedgehog-friendly alternative. You can find plenty of ideas here and here.
Drive slowly at night to avoid running over hedgehogs.
Check your garden netting to make sure no hedgehogs have become entangled, and if you are not using the netting any more, don’t leave it lying around the garden.