Get involved in Wiltshire and Swindon’s largest ever wildlife survey and tell Wiltshire Wildlife Trust how wildlife is doing this summer. We are about to deliver a survey to 207,000 households and we would like you to tell us if you have seen a hedgehog, lapwing, water vole, barn owl, song thrush or frogspawn in the past three months.
You will be helping us build up a picture of how our wildlife is faring. “We are 50 this year, and by giving us your views on local wildlife and the importance of the countryside, you will be helping us plan our campaigns to protect wildlife for the next 50 years,” says the Trust’s Director Gary Mantle.
The much-loved hedgehog, featured on the survey envelope, is also the gardener’s friend as it feasts on slugs and snails, but there is growing evidence that its numbers are dwindling across the UK. Although the reason behind this decline is not yet clear, it is thought that loss of habitat, including urban green space, and pesticide use are two factors.
There are many things we can all do make our gardens more attractive to hedgehogs, such as leaving patches of rough grass and planting hedges, but finding out about their current state in Wiltshire is an important first step towards helping them.
“By telling us whether you have seen hedgehogs or any of the other five species in the questionnaire we will be able to work out where they are doing well and not so well and focus our work better. We are also hoping that more people will consider joining us as members.
“We are a self-funded charity and rely on membership support to do a lot of our work. Members are the lifeblood of the Trust, and the more support we have, the more we can look after our environment and all the wonderful wildlife that lives here,” says Gary.
“For as little as £2.50 a month you will join 18,000 people who care about Wiltshire. You may be surprised at the variety and extent of the work you will be supporting.
“In the last 50 years we have led the way in innovative thinking such as the living landscapes approach to nature conservation, which is now being championed at the national level in reports such as the Lawton Report and the Government’s White Paper on the Natural Environment among many others.”
You can join online at http://www.wiltshirewildlife.org/Support-us
Things you can do to help hedgehogs
· Leave small gaps at the bottom of fences and walls so they can move from garden to garden.
· Provide an escape route from ponds so they don’t drown if they fall in, such as a piece of wood or a pile of stones.
· Check bonfires before you light them in case they are nesting inside
· Let a small part of you garden go wild with long grass, leaf litter and log piles as these provide perfect foraging places.
· If you want to feed your garden hedgehog, please provide dog/cat food and not bread and milk.