27 Aug 2009

Help a Hedgehog Hospital

I read in the SNJ about the former veterinary nurse Annie Parfitt who has set up a special hospital at her home in Brimscombe to reverse the decline of hedgehogs. I've since been in contact and we are exploring the possibilities of some research into hedgehog sitings locally - anyone interested in helping? Annie also needs dog food donations (details below).

I've always had a soft spot (is that the right words?) for hedgehogs - and there are too few around here - indeed across the country there has been a massive decline in numbers - Nottingham Trent Uni are doing some research - see here - indeed at current rates there will be no more of them by 2025 - shockingly they are dying out at a rate of about a fifth of the population every four years (see Guardian fascinating article here)!!

I know badgers and foxes, which are common here, are partial to young hedgehogs and certainly the motorcar seems to have too many - anyhow it would be great to see this project take off in the way that the local Global Bee Project has captured people's imaginations. More coming to this blog soon.

Anyhow here is part of what the SNJ wrote: Mrs Parfitt, 41, looks after sick, injured or orphaned animals at the Help a Hedgehog Hospital and eventually hopes to re-introduce the threatened species into parts of Gloucestershire where it has died out.

"I have lived in this area all my life and you don’t see hedgehogs any more, which is very upsetting," said the mother-of-two, who is a teaching assistant at Thomas Keble School. I want to try to put hedgehogs back on the map in Gloucestershire. I just really love them, there is something special about them."

Mrs Parfitt, of Bourne Lane, decided to set up the hospital in 2008 after hearing that hedgehog populations were so low that they were on the British wildlife endangered list. She raised £400 by asking people to donate money instead of presents for her 40th birthday and a further £600 in a sponsored run 12-mile race. Ten year-old twins Milly and Beth Godwin, who also live in Brimscombe, raised £150 through garage sales, while Mrs Parfitt paid £350 from her own pocket to set up the hospital.

Mrs Parfitt has one garden shed with heat pads which will soon become a surgery and examination room for sick or injured hedgehogs. She has another shed to provide food and shelter for underweight autumn juveniles to help them through the winter. There is also a former chicken house in a nearby field where more hedgehogs can be kept.

Mrs Parfitt, a voluntary carer for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, currently gets all her 'patients' from Bowbridge Veterinary Group and Clockhouse Veterinary Hospital.

Mrs Parfitt aims to map the distribution of hedgehogs in Gloucestershire on her website and then release patients in areas where they have died out. For more information, contact Annie Parfitt on 01453 886424 or annieparfitt (at) sky.com

I've already sent an email expressing interest in making a home for a hedgehog - although I do have concerns in this area as their are so many badgers.

Help a hedgehog hospital is situated in Brimscombe near Stroud and offers expert help with caring for hedgehogs found by members of the public and in need of medical treatment and tlc. See the website here: www.helpahedgehog.org/

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