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30 July 2020, 14:14
A quarter of our native mammals are at risk of extinction, including hedgehogs and field mice.
British hedgehogs have now been classified as vulnerable to extinction.
According to a new conservation report, the cute creatures are at risk of dying out along with a quarter of Britain’s native mammal species.
The first ‘Red List’, drawn up by the Mammal Society, assesses threats to wildlife such as elephants and tigers.
And it shows that 11 of our 47 native mammals are at risk of dying out.
The reasons for this include historical persecution, the use of chemicals, development, a loss of habitat and the introduction of non-native species.
Following the sad news, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society has said this is ‘an opportunity to increase the awareness of the importance of protecting habitats.’
Their campaign Hedgehog Street, encourages people to make their gardens ‘hedgehog friendly’ to help the mammals survive.
This includes creating small 13cm square holes in their garden fences so hedgehogs can access a wide range of outdoor space, as well as putting out suitable food and water and removing any plastic litter.
Fay Vass, CEO of the BHPS, said: “The holes made in fences, the feeding, the hedgehog houses, the wildlife friendly planting, the removal of hazards – all makes such a difference locally.
“But it is not enough to rely on the good will of individuals to protect this important creature.
“We need Government to enforce wildlife friendly practices. From farming to development to transport – wildlife needs to be taken seriously.”
Meanwhile, harvest mice are also in danger of extinction due to the loss of long grassland on farms.
Mammal Society chairman Prof Fiona Mathews has warned urgent action is needed to save them, as she said: “Once an animal becomes endangered or critically endangered, it’s really a scramble for time to put measures in place to rescue them, so we need to be taking a hard look at the species on the next level down so that it doesn’t become a crisis.”