A SOMERFORD Keynes animal rescue centre is backing a national campaign which aims to try and stop hedgehogs becoming extinct.

Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre wants to highlight the work that The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) are doing in trying to halt the decline of the UK’s hedgehog population.

The two groups have been working in partnership on hedgehog preservation since 2011 and have initiated several projects such as Hedgehog Street, a campaign which helps create hedgehog-friendly neighbourhoods, and the Hedgehog Hibernation Survey, a study to gather information about hedgehog activity.

Tori Cole, of Oak and Furrows, which deals with a large number of poorly hedgehogs, said: “The work PTES and the BHPS is carrying out is brilliant and we support any work they do. We all have the same interest at the end of the day, to save the declining hedgehog population, whether it is rescuing and rehabilitating hedgehogs in need of our help now or by saving their habitats for the future and educating people about their needs.

“The Hedgehog Street campaign is really good because it enables the general public to help hedgehogs in a very simple way. By educating them in this way then hopefully it will help the future of the hedgehog population.”

Hedgehog Street is a nationwide campaign which employs nearly 30,000 volunteer ‘Hedgehog Champions’ through its website, hedgehogstreet.org, that includes a downloadable guide to hedgehog-friendly gardening.

The Hedgehog Hibernation Survey gathers information about hedgehog activity patterns, examining how climate change may be affecting them.

As part of their work the two groups are also offering training for land managers and consultants, which are led by hedgehog experts and target people who own open spaces.

A report by the BTO which was commissioned by the PTES and the BHPS indicated a quarter of UK hedgehogs have been lost in the last 10 years.

Oak and Furrows is expected to move to a new home within a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve near Cricklade this year after submitting plans for a larger headquarters with improved animal care facilities such as hedgehog pens.

Although they have raised over £50,000 needed to build their new home they are still just under halfway to meeting their £100,000 target.

If you wish to donate to Oak and Furrows, call 01285 8624390.