Hedgehog Awareness Weekend

An East Sussex animal charity has organised a Hedgehog Awareness Weekend in the run up to the Guy Fawkes Celebrations in order to help keep hedgehogs and other wildlife safe over the celebrations.

Over the weekend on 13th and 14th October WRAS's founder Trevor Weeks MBE will be doing hour long sessions about hedgehog awareness including how to keep hedgehogs safe during the bonfire celebrations. The sessions will include meeting a real live hedgehog at WRAS's Wildlife Hospital based at Whitesmith on the A22 between Hailsham, Lewes and Uckfield.

"Every year it is believed that thousands of animals die in bonfires across the country, many without anyone knowing about it. Hedgehogs are one of the main wild mammals which are known to get caught and end up being admitted into care, but many aren't given an chance to escape. We have ten tips on how to keep hedgehogs and wildlife safe around bonfire night. Every year we have at least one burnt hedgehogs to deal with" said Trevor.

"These sessions were really popular when we ran them back in the spring, and we hope that they will be just as much interest this time round. These free sessions will look at hedgehogs in general, their habits, behaviour, problems they encounter and we will particularly talk about bonfire safety and how to ensure hedgehogs do not end up becoming unseen victims of bonfires. Visitors will also get the opportunity to meet one of our hedgehogs patients up close too." said Trevor Weeks.

Numbers are limited to 15 people per session, and will take place at 10am, 12noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm on Saturday 13th October and 12noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm on the Sunday 14th October. The course is free of charge but there is a suggested minimum donation of £5 per person. Refreshments will also be available. To book call 01825873003 between 10am and 6pm.

"Hedgehogs are on the decline, and with the recent and rather worrying Thorny Headed Worm parasite which is killing hundreds of hedgehogs across the country at the moment, we are worried about their future. These sessions are an opportunity for people to learn more about hedgehogs and how they can keep them safe." added Trevor.

East Sussex WRAS has dealt with over 210 hedgehogs so far in 2012. 83 of these have been found out during the day time, either emaciated or injured and the cause unclear. Another 20 were orphans, 19 were road casualties, 19 with severe parasite problems, 10 caught by strimmers or mowers, 17 attacked by dogs, and the other were various problems from being trapped in drains, poisoned, caught in netting etc. Out of the 83 found out during the day time, the cause of their problems has been difficult to confirm, many of these may have been poisoned, attacked by dogs, road casualties but it is difficult to confirm. The Thorny Headed Worm has caused at least 15 deaths this year in hedgehogs which have come into care, but at present this is extremely difficult to test for until after death.

East Sussex WRAS is a mainly voluntary run charity supported by donations. A typical hedgehog which has been attacked by a dog and has open wounds and injuries would cost East Sussex WRAS approximately £107.08 to be on-call for, an ambulance sent out on site to rescue the casualty, treat the wounds and injuries, and rehabiliate back to the wild over a 5 weeks period. "WRAS needs your help to support this valuable work both from a conservation and animal welfare perspective" said Trevor Weeks. To donate to WRAS please call 01825873003 or post a donation to East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE on online.

WRAS Top Ten Bonfire Wildlife Safety Tips are:

  1. Re-site the entire bonfire pile before being lit where possible.
  2. Use broom handles to lift the bonfire up to check for wildlife sleeping inside before lighting the fire. Use torches to check underneath and listen carefully for any signs of life.
  3. With larger bonfires, erect a mesh fence with an over hang round the bonfire to avoid small wild mammals getting inside.
  4. Light the bonfire at one side rather than all round so that any animals or bird inside have a chance to escape.
  5. Move bird feeders and other food left out on the ground for wildlife away from the the bonfire site for at least a week before building a bonfire.
  6. Light bonfires away from over hanging trees and bushes.
  7. Use fireworks away from trees and woodland.
  8. Place a hedgehog house or simple small hutch with clean and fresh straw, hay and hand shredded paper to provide an alternative home for any animals which might be visiting your garden.
  9. Have a bucket of water available in care you need to put out the fire or an animal on fire.
  10. Know who to call if you find an injured wildlife casualty.

- END -

Press Contact: Trevor Weeks - East Sussex WRAS: 01825 873003 or 07931 523958

Share this!