Ecologist and author Hugh Warwick’s (often known as Hedgehog Hugh) upcoming project HedgeOX aims to combat the decline in Oxfordshire’s hedgehog population.
Having worked at the forefront of research and conservation efforts for more than 30 years, Warwick explains, “Urban hedgehog numbers are down by 30 per cent in the past 17 years – and for rural hedgehogs it is even worse, with the population down by 50-75 per cent.”
The project’s primary ambition is to overcome fragmentation. Methods include ensuring there are holes in garden fences, encouraging local farmers to plant more hedges and allowing existing ones space to grow in order to make hedgehog highways.
Another aim is to recruit ‘Hedgehog Heroes’ who possess their own patches and are eager to work with their neighbours to expand the areas within which hedgehogs can thrive.
“Oxford has been my home for nearly 25 years now – and the county has a wonderfully diverse set of potentially hedgehog-friendly habitats,” says Warwick. “Yet the population has fallen as much here as anywhere else. I want to reverse that decline.”
Warwick is also developing a ‘Hedgehog Roadshow’ that will take to the roads of Oxfordshire in autumn 2018.