Hedgehogs’ unique appearance and their visits to our gardens place them firmly in the British public’s affections.
They were once regular visitors, snuffling around for food in flowerbeds, or looking to see if we had left out any ‘treats’ for them.
However, hedgehogs are declining in Britain. According to Hedgehog Street, a third of urban hedgehogs have been lost since the millennium.
Concerned over this decline in hedgehog numbers, Flitwick resident Helena Buras has started a campaign to make Flitwick a ‘Hedgehog Friendly town’.
Helena is a Local Hedgehog Champion for Hedgehog Street, a charity which aims to help the spikey animals to thrive again. She became aware of the decline in hedgehogs last year. She said:
“I saw a hedgehog scurrying around my garden, and when he returned the next night, he was running around frantically again.
“I felt sorry for the little guy as I assumed he was looking for food.”
This encounter prompted Helena to research how she could help her visitor and other hedgehogs. She said:
“I was shocked to discover that hedgehogs classed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN).
“So, I thought what can we do to help?
“I came across Hedgehog Street, which is a fantastic charity, and I found tons of resources on its website.”
Following her research, Helena became a hedgehog champion:
“I put a hole in my garden gate [known as a hedgehog highway], set up a camera and put out the right food, such as meaty cat or dog food, and freshwater.
“After a few nights, a couple of hedgehogs came through the highway, which was amazing.”
In March, Helena was aware that hedgehogs would be shortly coming out of hibernation, so she took to social media to ask residents to keep an eye out for them. She said:
“I wanted to say something about hedgehogs, then I thought ‘why don’t I make it into something bigger and make Flitwick a hedgehog friendly town?’.
“As well as posting on Focus on Flitwick, I put up some posters and posted leaflets though my neighbours’ doors.
“This raised some interest, which was brilliant.
“This has all happened in just a few weeks after wanting to make people in Flitwick aware of hedgehogs coming out of hibernation.”
Helena’s campaign has built up a group of eight hedgehog fans, and they will be having their first meeting tomorrow (25 April 2021) at 15:00 to discuss ways to help to make Flitwick hedgehog friendly.
If you would like to attend the meeting, or want to know more about helping Flitwick’s hedgehogs, please email Helena at firstname.lastname@example.org.