Home gardens across Newport are currently occupied by little sleeping hogs thanks to Monmouthshire and Newport LNP support and funding – here’s how you can help hedgehogs in your area over the coming winter months.
Hedgehog numbers in Wales have drastically declined over the past twenty years, with numbers plummeting from 1.5 million in 1995 to less than 500,000 today.
The decline in the hedgehog population is reflective of the decline in the quality of our natural environment. This means unfortunately hedgehogs are not the only ones effected, with many of our beloved species under threat of extinction.
That’s why some of our Local Nature Partnerships (LNPs) across Wales have been supporting people and communities to do what they can to help save the hedgehogs.
Newport leading the way
In Newport, Celtic Horizons Litter Pickers Group have been instrumental in bringing about wider environmental changes across Newport, in particular to the management of roadside verges and grassland in and around residential areas.
In supporting their LNP and Newport City Council to make these changes, the group began to look more broadly at other biodiversity enhancements they could do to help their local wildlife thrive.
Already involved in a number of local pollinator projects, the group, with the support of a local hedgehog rescue and wildlife volunteers, created the ‘Home Help for Hedgehogs’ Project.
‘It fitted nicely with the aims of the Monmouthshire and Newport LNP Small Projects Fund’, says Newport’s LNP coordinator Lucy Arnold-Matthews. ‘At a time when the whole country was in and out of lockdowns, this was a project that enabled people to engage with nature in their own back gardens whilst supporting the wider hedgehog population.’
Through the project, residents across Newport installed hedgehog homes in their urban and suburban gardens, providing food, shelter and water to save this endangered species.
The rescuers were supported by local Hog Champions Sue, Helen and Jane from the Rescue Centre, who gave top tips and guidance on what food to put out, where, the importance of access and shelter.
Fortunately for us, the rescuers also kept a diary to monitor activity in their gardens, giving all of us a sneak peek into hog behaviour.
‘I can’t tell you what a pleasure and a privilege it’s been to have been adopted by Erin the hedgehog’, says one participant. ‘It has got me through the lockdown and done wonders for my mental health.
‘He has consistently used his hotel room right through the winter [and] I have seen him double in size while I have kept him fed through the winter months.’
Once the weather improved I expected Erin to be off looking for a Mrs Erin, but no!!!! He stays most days. I have been given a project camera to borrow for a few weeks and I have to say I am now completely smitten.’