Monday, 21 April 2014

Help a Hedgehog is now a Registered Charity!

As our last article for the Stroud News Green Scene page disappeared into a black hole, here is the April column which should have been published weeks ago.

Help a Hedgehog Hospital is now a registered charity!

Pauhla Whitaker, our Chairperson has been working hard over the last few months to make sure our governing documents complied with the Charity Commission's requirements.

All the current committee members and officers are now the Trustees of the new charity. We have come a long way since Annie Parfitt started the hospital in a very small way in her back garden in 2008, but our aims remain the same – to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs. We also 
aim to educate the public about the wild European hedgehog
(Erinaceus Europeus - our native species) by means of talks and events. 

Our spring release programme is now well under way – 10 pairs have been
released in the Cranham area so if you live in the village - look out
for hedgehogs marked with pink or blue nail varnish! If you find one in
distress please contact us quickly. If all goes well, there should be a
new population in the area soon. Others have been released in the King's
Stanley, Stonehouse and Frampton areas, and also around Tetbury,
Brimscombe and Bussage.  Altogether 174 hogs were in care over the
winter, and most of those have regained a healthy weight and will go on
to continue their life cycle.

Our fundraising activities will be gearing up soon too – we will be
attending many outdoor events during the spring and summer, and hope to
see our friends there. The Hospital is run entirely by volunteers and
relies on donations and sale of our merchandise to fund the care of the
hedgehogs. If you would like to book a talk for your group or school,
please call John on 01453 885653. We don't charge a fee, but a donation
towards our work and supplies of meaty catfood are always welcome.

For more information and contact details, please see our website

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Spring is almost here!

Now we're into March already and the hibernating hedgehogs should be waking up soon! In fact, this winter has been so mild that many hogs have not hibernated at all. Many have been found out and about during the winter, and people have been kind enough to pick them up and pass them onto us for care. Most of these have been very underweight and hungry, as although the weather has not been cold, their natural diet of worms and beetles is very hard to find. Sadly many will have perished in areas that have suffered flooding, which makes the work of rescues such as ours even more important to help keep this endearing little creature safe from extinction.

More than 170 hogs have spent the winter in our care – most of these were “autumn juveniles” born at the end of the summer, too late to put on sufficient fat reserves to survive the winter. Those weighing less than 500 gms are unlikely to survive without care, and a safer weight margin is 600gms. So if you see a hedgehog in the early spring, it is likely to have lost weight during the winter and need some extra food to boost its chances of a successful breeding season.

Talking of food in particular generates litter....... which is a danger to all wildlife but items such as MacFlurry lids, and Krushems cups – the sort with a hole in the dome -shaped lid can be lethal, as we found a few days ago. An otherwise healthy hedgehog had to be put to sleep because of the injuries caused when it tried to escape from one of these lids which was round its neck. Please don't leave these things lying around.

We will be starting our release programme in April – I hope you have had a chance to see the window display at the Stroud Valleys Project shop – the map boards indicate where the “hotspots” for hogs are, and also the many areas where hedgehogs appear to be absent. There are many reasons why some areas seem devoid of hedgehogs – including unsuitable habitat, loss of hedgerows and a high badger population: badgers can and do eat hedgehogs if other natural food is in short supply.

For more information, emergency numbers, or to book a talk for your group or school – please see our website

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year from Help a Hedgehog Hospital!

Now it's January and still wet & windy!

Still the little hogs have been coming in.......cold, wet and hungry! The mild weather so far has meant that autumn juveniles are still being found, many of them seriously ill with internal parasites, and very underweight. If you find one – please call our emergency number 07870 378 207 (after 9am) or 01453 823871 -  or your local rescue if you are not in Gloucestershire -  as time is of the essence and these little ones need specialist care. Please do not think you can keep them in a box and all will be well – it won't.

Currently the Hospital carers have more than 150 little mouths to feed – gradually those which have put on enough weight can safely go into hibernation, but those under 600 g will continue to need food and care.

As 2013 drew to a close, our pre – Christmas fund raising efforts stepped up! Many thanks to all who gave generously at our Tesco collection, bought our calendars or visited our stall at Westonbirt Arboretum Enchanted Forest. Our four evenings there were very successful in spite of the downpours.

Countryfile gave us some very good publicity – and a classic moment! Hedgehogs don't normally bite – but that little one showed John Craven he'd had enough! Fortunately Carole was on hand to briskly remove the hog and put him away safely! Our website enquiry form was red hot for a few days after the programme.

We take a break from fundraising for a few weeks until the Festival of Birds at Slimbridge WWT on 1st and 2nd February, but talks continue throughout the year, and our carers continue to clean, feed and look after our spikey friends every day.

For more information, contact details and what to do in an emergency, please see our website

The defining moment on Countryfile!!