Wildlife hospital issue urgent warning over the dangers of littering for ‘dwindling’ hedgehog population

22 October 2020, 14:25 | Updated: 22 October 2020, 14:27

Tiggywinkles has issued a warning over littering
Tiggywinkles has issued a warning over littering. Picture: Tiggywinkles/Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Hedgehogs are in danger of getting caught up in discarded litter.

A wildlife charity has shared an important message about the dangers of littering for wild hedgehogs.

Tiggywinkles is the world’s leading wildlife hospital and has treated more than 300,000 animals over the past 30 years.

But experts have now warned that litter is having a huge impact on wildlife, with animals getting trapped in discarded netting, fishing lures and plastic six pack rings.

In a recent Instagram post, the charity explained: “We frequently see animals injured by discarded rubbish. For quite a few months now, we have been collecting the litter recovered from some of our casualties and we thought it would be interesting to share with you just how much we’ve amassed.”

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Here at Tiggywinkles, we frequently see animals injured by discarded rubbish. For quite a few months now, we have been collecting the litter recovered from some of our casualties and we thought it would be interesting to share with you just how much we’ve amassed. As you can see, we have managed to fill a jar with all sorts, including netting, fishing lures, plastic six-pack rings and an old glow stick band. It’s quite shocking to see just how much there is! Whilst we realise most people dispose of their rubbish responsibly, there are a few little things we can all do to protect animals, like this baby hedgehog. Firstly, cut open six-pack rings, elastic bands and the loops of disposable face masks, as wildlife can become entangled in them. Look out for any litter that you think could be harmful, like plastic bags and tin cans and pop them in the bin. Lastly, clear up fishing tackle, as discarded line can get wrapped tightly around a leg or a beak and hooks are often ingested. Doing just one of these simple things could save a life. Thank you! #wildlife #wildliferescue #britishwildlife #rescue #rehabilitation #release #babyanimals #hedgehog #litter #rubbish #vet #veterinary #charity

A post shared by Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital (@tiggywinklesuk) on

The photo shows a glass jar full of harmful rubbish, with the post continuing: “Whilst we realise most people dispose of their rubbish responsibly, there are a few little things we can all do to protect animals, like this baby hedgehog.”

Read More: Hedgehogs are now vulnerable to extinction, new report warns

Tiggywinks advises cutting open six-pack rings, elastic bands and the loops of disposable face masks before throwing them away as wildlife can become entangled in them.

If you spot any litter that you think could be harmful, like plastic bags and tin cans, it’s important that you put them in the bin, as well as clearing up fishing tackle.

“Doing just one of these simple things could save a life. Thank you!,” the message finishes.

Hedgehogs are now classified as vulnerable to extinction in the UK
Hedgehogs are now classified as vulnerable to extinction in the UK. Picture: PA Images

And supportive followers have been quick to comment, with one writing: “So sad to see 😢 it angers me when I see people just throwing stuff out of their car windows for this exact reason.”

"Highlighting the dangers of mask loops to wildlife is worthy of a publicity campaign. I see masks on the ground all over the place and pick them up where possible,” another said.

While a third added: “Sadly I’m sure that many face masks will be having a huge negative impact on nature and the environment. 😢”

This comes after the hedgehog was recently listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ in the UK.

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.

And wildlife experts are now calling for the greater protection of the UK's ‘dwindling population’.

A petition - which has now got more than 40k signatures - is calling on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection.

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