You might think that hedgehogs only set up home in the countryside but they are in fact thriving in some of our cities. But where can we expect to see them in an urban setting? Thanks to a new study, London’s native hedgehog population hotspots have been uncovered — and it’s never been easier to help them out.
Scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) HogWatch programme and wildlife charity, People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), have plotted where hedgehogs are living across north and west London.Rachel Cates, who worked on the study, placed hundreds of secret cameras in several green spaces across the capital. For a period of two weeks, the cameras recorded any small creatures passing by.
WHAT DID THE STUDY FIND?
The largest population of hedgehogs in the city is in Hampstead Heath, North Greater London
62 sightings were recorded in west London, including in the WWT Wetland Centre, Barnes Common, Putney Lower Common, Roehampton Golf Course, the Bank of England Sports Centre and on Palewell Common
Hedgehogs were also spotted across Barnes and on Putney Lower Common, but these were less common.Dulwich Park, Peckham Rye and Common, and Russia Dock Woodland were the areas where the least number of hedgehogs were spotted.These new geographical findings confirm the conclusion of a previous study conducted by the ZSL, back in 2018, which found Hampstead Heath to be the best place for hedgehogs to thrive in London. Over 380 of the small creatures were found passing in front of the secret cameras.”Interestingly, the habitat in the green spaces we investigated in the Southwark area is very similar to the areas where hedgehogs appear to be doing well,” Rachel Cates explained.
“We don’t know why hedgehogs would be doing so well in some areas, but less so in others, when the habitats look similar. One explanation could be that these areas are isolated from larger green spaces, meaning there’s no safe passages to enable hedgehogs to access these sites from outside.”Nida Al-Fulaij, Grants Manager at PTES, also explains: “It’s not surprising that the distribution of hedgehogs across London is patchy; London’s infrastructure is continuously growing and many of its green spaces are becoming harder for hedgehogs and other wildlife to access.
“The population in Regent’s Park is well-known and well-studied, but little is known about how hedgehogs are doing in other parts of the city. The next step is to understand why hedgehogs are doing well in some areas, but less so in others, which is why Rachel and Chris’ work is so important. By helping us understand where hedgehogs are living and in what habitats, gives us the best chance of successfully helping them.”
Special Thanks to Country Living for their Article- https://www.countryliving.com/uk/wildlife/countryside/a30975569/hedgehog-hotspots-london/