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Hedgehog conservation strategy and population trends

What is the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report?

The report is published by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) every three to four years, and examines how Britain’s hedgehogs are faring, and how this is changing over time. The report uses data from different wildlife surveys to analyse population trends and is the only comprehensive review of the status of hedgehogs in the UK.

Photo by wildlife photographer and hedgehog rehabilitator Cate Barrow

The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022

The latest version of the report has just been launched and can be downloaded here.

What does the report tell us?

You can read the full 2022 report via the link above, but here are the report headlines:

  • Hedgehogs in Britain have undergone a long historic decline, but differences between urban and rural populations are increasingly apparent.
  • In urban areas, the picture is of a stable population showing signs of recovery. This highlights the importance of gardens and green spaces, and local action, in ensuring a future for hedgehogs.
  • In stark contrast, rural populations remain low. In the last two decades, numbers have continued to decline by between a third and three-quarters nationally. The largest declines are seen in the eastern half of England.

What have previous reports shown?

Previous versions of the report were published in 2011, 2015 and 2018. Over time, these reports identified an increasing disparity between urban and rural hedgehog populations. The 2018 report showed that hedgehogs had declined by half in rural areas and a third in our towns and cities since 2000. It also demonstrated that the decline in urban areas was starting to slow. This is corroborated by the 2022 report which now indicates that the situation in urban areas appears to be improving. 

What happens next?

In urban areas, we will extend the reach of the Hedgehog Street campaign, inspiring and empowering even more people to take action for hedgehogs. To help rural hedgehog populations, we’ll forge partnerships to train new audiences in hedgehog ecology and habitat improvement. PTES and BHPS will also continue to fund and support research to better understand the complexities of the rural decline and potential solutions.

Additional priorities include increasing the legal protection of hedgehogs in the Wildlife and Countryside Act, developing improved methodologies for surveying hedgehogs and updating conservation strategies as new research findings are published.

How can I help?

The increased focus on urban areas over the last 10 years through the launch of Hedgehog Street appears to be yielding results. It’s important to be cautious about the improved situation in urban landscapes, viewing it in the context of widespread and significant historical decline. Nevertheless, with the continued support of over 100,000 amazing Hedgehog Champions, we believe that Hedgehog Street, along with local hedgehog conservation groups all over the UK, are having an impact. However, there’s no room for complacency; there’s never been a more important time to help our hedgehogs. Wildlife-friendly gardens and community action are steps we can continue to take to ensure hedgehogs remain a permanent fixture in Britain for generations to come.

Find out how you can help here.