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Bonfire warning by wildlife centre

PUBLISHED: 23:05 19 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:41 03 March 2010

A WILDLIFE worker today issued a warning to people to check for hedgehogs before lighting their bonfires.

Alec Suttenwood of Ipswich Wildlife Care and Rescue said each year thousands of hedgehogs are burned to death, or seriously injured because people haven't checked the unlit fire.

A WILDLIFE worker today issued a warning to people to check for hedgehogs before lighting their bonfires.

Alec Suttenwood of Ipswich Wildlife Care and Rescue said each year thousands of hedgehogs are burned to death, or seriously injured because people haven't checked the unlit fire.

"This time of year hedgehogs are looking for somewhere to hibernate and a cosy heap of wood and leaves is just the thing. Perhaps by raising awareness some lives can be saved."

People are urged to either check first before lighting the fire, or build the bonfire on the night – storing the wood and leaves in a different place to the intended bonfire site.

Mr Suttenwood, said: "Several thousand nationally every year are either killed or seriously injured by bonfires, both around Guy Fawkes night and with gardeners burning end of season rubbish.

"It is a grave concern. I think that either people can't be bothered to check or move the bonfire or it just doesn't occur to them.

"Last year I looked after two hedgehogs that had been burned – one survived and one didn't.

"This sort of thing is always a worry come autumn. If they are under a fire they are often so asleep they don't make a run for it.

"Some people hear the hedgehog screams but think that it is sap coming from the wood. It is a frightening thought."

Hedgehog hibernation takes place from Mid-September through to March or April.

People can help hedgehogs by building a nest of a cardboard box with straw and putting it under bushes in their gardens.

Websites:

http:/www.hedgehogs.org.uk/

Hedgehog facts:

nWild hedgehogs are an endangered species

nThey are at risk mainly from the motor car.

nHowever they also have to contend with the gardener – strimmers can inflict terrible injuries and bonfires are a big killer.

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