Suffolk Wildlife Trust appeal for help in finding hedgehog population ‘black holes’

Hedgehogs: Have you seen one?

Hedgehogs: Have you seen one? - Credit: Andrew Partridge

People are being urged to contact Suffolk Wildlife Trust if they have not seen a hedgehog where they live for the last two years or more.

The so-called negative sightings are needed for the charity’s pioneering citizen science survey, which is designed to indicate where healthy populations of hedgehogs are located in the county.

The Trust launched their campaign in April this year following increasing concern about the dramatic decline of hedgehogs across the UK. Since that time more than 7500 records have been added to an online recording website.

Dr Simone Bullion, the Trust’s mammal expert, who is leading on the campaign, said: “The data we have will help us identify where hedgehogs are in the county, what we really need to do now is clarify where they are not. It’s human nature to record something you see, it’s not such an obvious action to record something you don’t. However, to get an accurate picture of what’s happening to our hedgehogs, we really need this information.”

She added: “So far around 200 negative records have been submitted – this is where people have told us they have never seen a hedgehog where they live. Often, these records are interspersed with records of live animals, making them less reliable. A concerted effort now to find out where the population black holes truly are will be a valuable addition to next year’s plan of action for the species.”

If you have not seen a hedgehog where you live (and have lived in or known this location for two years or more) go to hedgehogs.ispywildlife.org and choose to report a sighting.

To help the Trust understand how rapid any population change has been, people are also encouraged to record if they used to see hedgehogs in a location before 2012, but no longer do.

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If you are unable to report sighting online please call the Trust on 01473 890089 (Mon-Fri 9am -5pm).

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