Hedgehog numbers have halved, but it’s quite wrong to attribute this to the loss of hedgerows: Our letter sent to The Guardian

European Hedgehog

Hedgehog numbers may have halved since 2007 but it’s quite wrong to attribute this to the loss of hedgerows (Quarter of native UK mammals at imminent risk of extinction, 30th July). The decline of our hedgerows was successfully halted a decade before this, through their legal protection. Since then, successive governments have been equally successful in incentivising farmers to replace hedges and increase the quality of existing ones.

Our demonstration farm in Leicestershire is typical of many – the length and width of hedgerows have both increased, yet the hedgehogs have disappeared. It’s odd the impact of badgers, which kill and eat hedgehogs, is not mentioned. With the badger population doubling since 1980, farmers across the country are wondering when commentators will discuss what is actually happening rather than lazily blame them for removing hedges – something which was banned long ago.

 Andrew Gilruth
Director of Communications

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Hedgehogs and predators

at 10:58 on 04/08/2020 by Bobalob

The current state of protecting predatory animals and birds is utterly mind blowing. How the preservationists can actually stand by and watch the many sensitive species that are declining nationally is nothing short of a disgrace and completely shameful. Pine Martens are known to be depleting Capercaillie broods, while Goshawks are taking the adult birds. Badgers are making devastating advances on Hedgehog populations. Wytham Woods in Oxford, owned by the University has a Badger population second to none all within 1000 acre block of semi ancient natural woodland. You will not see a single hedgehog. To protect a certain bird or mammal to the point where other more sensitive species decline to a dangerous level is beyond comprehension. The true guardians of the countryside, the Gamekeeper strike a balance. It is about time that these over protected predators were reduced in number in areas that are known to be suffering from their overbearing predation. No bird of prey, or mammalian predator should have blanket protection above all other creatures, this is not a balance.

GWCT letter to the Guardian

at 10:52 on 04/08/2020 by R B Harrower

Excellent reply about the increase in badger numbers has had on hedgehog numbers The public are continually being misled about the damage done by badgers on all ground nesting birds etc and of course the spread of TB The numbers ofcattle that have to be culled and that COST to the public purse and the farming businesses should be mentioned much more often


at 10:45 on 04/08/2020 by Henry Rumbold

I agree that badgers are the mai predator of hedgehogs even in areas such as mine where there has been a badger cull. I would be interested to know to what extent foxes are also hedgehog predators. Much of the effort to preserve hedgehogs appears to come from people living in urban or suburban homes with gardens. Not many (if any) badgers there but plenty of fixes! Could these perhaps account for the disappearance of favourite hedgehogs noted in their tweets etc?


at 10:29 on 04/08/2020 by David Phillips

There is no general acceptance or appreciation that areas of the countryside can only accept a finite number of predators. There is only a limited food source for any given area yet the release of kites, protection of badgers etc etc is not managed to the detriment of the local wildlife.

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