Collisions with vehicles is one of the most common forms of mortality in hedgehog populations, which has halved in rural areas since 2000.
To help to reduce the number of small mammal deaths by vehicles, a new traffic sign, featuring a hedgehog, was unveiled in 2019. It warns road users of hazards due to animals in the road ahead and was designed to be placed in areas where accident rates are highest.
The then Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, called on local authorities and animal welfare groups to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the signs should be located.
To help to reduce the interactions between vehicles and hedgehogs in Flitwick, a campaign group is to lobby Central Bedfordshire Council for these signs to be placed around the town.
The ‘Flitwick – a hedgehog friendly town’ campaign group was set up to raise hedgehog awareness in the town.
To help to show the need for these signs, the group has created a short survey to help to evidence that there is a hedgehog population in the town to protect.
Flitwick residents are asked to record information about any hedgehog they have seen or see (dead or alive). Helena Buras, who set up the ‘Flitwick – a hedgehog friendly town’ campaign group, said:
“Since the launch of the survey last week, we’ve had 49 responses so far, which is terrific and we hope Flitwick residents continue to add their sightings throughout the summer.
“Every sighting is valuable and will help build up a picture of our hedgehog numbers and what the community are doing to help protect them. We can see already that hedgehogs are present all over the town.
“Once the survey closes at the end of October, we hope to have enough evidence to prove that we have a healthy hedgehog population to Central Bedfordshire Council to justify putting up hedgehog signs.
“This is the first step. The second is working out where the hedgehogs are and how residents can help them continue to thrive.
“It’s very much a community driven initiative and we’re delighted that Flitwick Town Council are coming onboard to support it.”
The data collected will also support other hedgehog campaign initiatives. The survey can be found here and it is running until 31 October 2021.
There is a 100 responses per month limit on the survey (otherwise the group would need to pay a subscription fee) so if you can’t get access the survey please don’t give up and add your sighting(s) the following month.
Photos or a video stills are also requested and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to include the date, time and location.
If you would like to find out more about the ‘Flitwick – a hedgehog friendly town’ campaign, to join the team or have any hedgehog questions, please email email@example.com.