NewsWandsworth

Public’s help needed to count hedgehogs and protect biodiversity

A council wants to check the health of the hedgehog population and is asking the public to help.  

Enable, a non-profit organisation that manages Wandsworth’s parks on behalf of the council, has trialled special tunnels at allotment sites including Garratt Park and Sailor Prince.

The tunnels have non-toxic ink in them to show paw prints where hedgehogs have been. Biodiversity officers can count the footprints to get an idea of population.

As well as gathering data from the allotments, Enable is asking the public to let it know if they come across hedgehogs by submitting the findings to gigl.org.uk.

Council officers believe there is a hedgehog population in Putney and Roehampton, but need more records to be submitted and would like to hear about sightings in other parts of the borough as well.

Hedgehogs are in decline nationally, but numbers are relatively stable in urban areas. However busy roads and parks and loss of habitat can affect populations.

The council said the hedgehog count is part of its plan to record, protect and increase Wandsworth’s biodiversity.

The council wants to create more priority habitats and landscapes as well as working more closely with people to show them the role they could play in nurturing wildlife on their doorstep.

A dedicated officer has started work to co-ordinate biodiversity activities, including biodiversity recording, surveys and citizen science, where specialists work with the public to collect and analyse data.    

Councillor Judi Gasser, Wandsworth’s cabinet member for environment, said: “The public have a crucial role to play in helping to protect and improve local habitats and we want to work closely with local groups and individuals to get everyone involved.   

“Hedgehogs are a priority species for us, so we want to find out if we are providing the habitats they need here in Wandsworth. If you see a hedgehog, don’t touch it or pick it up, but do let us know. If we all keep an eye out we’ll get much more comprehensive data to help us protect this lovely animal.” 

A spokeswoman for Wandsworth council said: “Keep an eye out for them in parks and gardens – they like to live in areas with piles of leaves, logs or compost, in underground and under sheds. Find out more about hedgehogs in your garden.”

Local people can also take part in monthly Habitat Management Workshop so they can learn about habitats and biodiversity and help keep Tooting and Wandsworth Commons thriving. Email parksvolunteers@enablelc.org to get involved. 

Pictured top: A council biodiversity officer uses ink to track hedgehogs (Picture: Wandsworth council/Enable)

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