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I recently went into the Welsh valleys to meet with a conservation volunteer by the name of Keith Jones. Keith is part of a non-profit organisation, Hedgehog Helpline, that works in several locations around Wales to rescue hedgehogs that have been found in distress, revive them, care for them and eventually release them in a safe location.
The charity was made official in 1990 and ever since, it has been growing, but they still need as much help as they can get. Keith spends much of his time travelling round schools and speaking at organised events in order to teach others about the importance of helping out a very fast-declining species. The charity relies on volunteers and on donations to be able to afford the necessary medicines and food to protect one of our most loved native species.
The majority of the work undertaken is done just in a volunteers back garden or garden shed. I was shocked to find the amount of amazing things that can be done to help out a species just by converting a shed to have cages and a sterilised work bench for treatment. The main things that can affect hedgehogs are: worms, which can be treated with a daily injection of medicine and antibiotics and dehydration, which again is most quickly and efficiently solved with an injection of subcutaneous fluids.
Hedgehogs have been declining at a shockingly fast rate with there being an estimated 30+ Million in the UK in the 1950's and now less than just 1 million. Despite much debate it is mainly our fault. Despite badgers being hedgehogs only known predator, these are not the main culprit for the decline in their population and a much higher percentage die due to human ignorance or mistake.
If more people were aware of the dangers to hedgehogs then we could all do our bit to help stop the decline. Please take the time to read some general advice given by the Hedgehog Helpline:
Its not just the medicine and food that's expensive, but some much needed equipment costs money too, so if you would like to make a donation to help support this great work then please send a cheque (made payable to Hedgehog Helpline) to:
5 Foreland Road
Many thanks to Keith Jones for allowing me to visit and photograph him and the great work undertaken by the Hedgehog Helpline. It is truly inspiring to meet people so passionate about conservation and saving our wildlife.