Hedgehogs are ‘dying in droves’ across south Norfolk, warns Long Stratton sanctuary owner
The owner of a south Norfolk hedgehog sanctuary has said the animals are “dying in their droves” across the region.
Rural areas of eastern England have seen the largest decline in hedgehog populations in the past two decades.
Tracy Jenkins, who runs a hedgehog rescue service from her home in Flowerpot Lane, Long Stratton, said that, as the weather begins to get hotter and dryer, hogs find it increasingly difficult to find water, with fatal consequences.
“They are dying in their droves – it’s heartbreaking,” said Mrs Jenkins, 59.
“There’s not any water anywhere – this time of year is mating season, but where do they find water along the way? All the ditches are dry, all the ponds are dry.
“We are all worrying at the moment – I’m wondering how they are going to survive.”
Mrs Jenkins explained that, during some periods last year, she had more than 100 hedgehogs at her home.
She described the brutal reality for hogs once they find themselves dehydrated.
“This is why we get so many orphaned babies,” she said.
“Mum goes out during the day to find food, she gets dehydrated, so she sits and becomes dormant and birds pick her eyes out or flies land on her and leave maggots, which eat her alive from the inside.”
Mrs Jenkins added that increasing urbanisation of once rural areas was compounding the problem, as the animals’ natural habitat makes way for roads, buildings and gardens.
“We’re building on their habitat,” added Mrs Jenkins. “So they’re being forced into the towns and villages, where they face our man-made hazards.
“We’ve had one here for four months, that had the side of its face taken off by a strimmer.”
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society recently published a report revealing that hedgehog populations have plummeted by between 30 to 75 per cent in rural areas in the last 20 years, with the largest declines in eastern England.