Charity of the month: London Colney Hedgehog Rescue
PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:27 12 April 2016
London Colney Hedgehog Rescue has cared for hundreds of hedgehogs since it was set up by an animal lover with a mission four years ago
Many consider the hedgehog to be an important part of our natural heritage and hold a great fondness for the prickly creature. So much so that in November Conservative MP Oliver Colvile launched a campaign to make the ‘Great Britain Hedgehog’ our national animal. The campaign is motivated by the rapid decline in hedgehog numbers over the past few decades. Research shows we have lost around 30 per cent of our hedgehog population since 2002, meaning it is likely there are now fewer than a million left in the UK. It is thought loss of habitats due to agricultural practices and manicured gardening is reducing viable populations.
Esther Chant set up London Colney Hedgehog Rescue in 2012 after she found a litter of hoglets in her garden. She was unsure how to help them so searched for someone local for advice. She discovered the nearest rescue centre was the Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance in Enfield. Inspired by the work carried out by the organisation, Esther decided to learn more about hedgehogs and attended a hedgehog first aid course.
This led to the foundation of her own action group, which has taken hedgehogs from as far afield as Suffolk and London. Last year Esther cared for more than 180 hedgehogs. Typically, animals are brought in by concerned members of the public after finding them in distress. When they first arrive, Esther provides basic first aid and if it appears the hedgehog is seriously ill or injured she will take it directly to a vet.
‘Having discovered how numbers have declined I wanted to help raise awareness of the issue. Also, once I’d delivered the hoglets I found I didn’t want the experience to end. When you see them they just make you melt,’ Esther explained. ‘Thankfully I have volunteers who support my work by caring for rescued hedgehogs in their gardens. This means that after release the hedgehogs have support if they need it.’
Like many small rescue centres, London Colney Hedgehog Rescue relies completely on the generosity of supporters for funds (a paypal link is set up) as well as other donations – the charity is always in need of non-fishy cat or dog food.
Should you find a hedgehog in need of immediate assistance and live in the London Colney area, call the charity’s emergency number, 07867 567464. For non-urgent advice or to find out how to support Esther’s work, email email@example.com or search ‘Hedgehog lady London Colney’ on Facebook.
For simple ways to support hedgehogs in your garden, visit hedgehogstreet.org, and to discover more hedgehog rescue centres, go to the Hedgehog Preservation Society website, britishhedgehogs.org.uk