THE HEDGEHOG population in the UK is declining at a worrying rate. Wildlife charities People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) recently published a report which revealed that hedgehog populations have plummeted by between 30% to 75% in rural areas since 2000, with the largest declines in eastern England. 

This report is based on almost 40 years of data and found that hedgehogs have suffered a long historic decline in the UK, but what’s becoming apparent is the vast differences between rural and urban populations, with urban hedgehog population numbers appearing to have stabilised.

In order to combat this decline, experts from Hedgehog Street (a joint campaign run by BHPS and PTES) suggest focusing on maintaining and improving suitable habitats for hedgehogs living in urban and suburban environments, as well as restoring the balance between our human-centric world and the natural world all around us.

Allowing hedgehogs to move freely between gardens (to find food, shelter and mates) is one way to combat this problem, and innovative fencing specialist, Birkdale has created a savvy solution to the UK’s rural hedgehog crisis – The Hedgehog Hole! A sustainable addition to the company’s popular DuraPost® range.

With the Durapost Hedgehog Hole, most gardens can be part of the solution. This handy little device allows hedgehogs and other wildlife to move freely through a garden while maintaining security for the homeowner.

The Durapost Hedgehog Hole has a powder-coated finish to match the DuraPost colour range. It is made from recycled steel and fits snugly between the end of a DuraPost fence post and a gravel board. The square opening in the base of a fence bay allows hedgehogs to pass through without any hassle or hindrance to the homeowner or the hedgehog.

Antony Reed, DuraPost Product Manager at Birkdale commented: “DuraPost is proud to extend our sustainable message by now providing a better purpose-made system for the free movement of hedgehogs between gardens and helping towards the preservation of hedgehogs in the UK by proudly partnering with Hedgehog Street association and making funding support contributions for every item sold. Birkdale is committed to sustainability and we look forward to seeing this product doing its bit to make real change for our garden wildlife. Plus, for every item sold we will donate £0.50 to Hedgehog Street.”

Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer for Hedgehog Street adds: “Habitat fragmentation and lack of suitable habitat are two issues facing UK hedgehogs. Creating a small, 13cm x 13cm square hedgehog hole – or ‘hedgehog highway’ – in a garden fence is a great way to help, as this will allow hedgehogs to roam between neighbouring gardens in search of food, shelter and mates. Gardens can be a haven for hedgehogs, but only if they are accessible. We are delighted that Birkdale are helping hedgehogs in this way.”

For more information on the Hedgehog Hole, as well as the full range of DuraPost by Birkdale products, visit www.birkdalesales.com/durapost