Hedgehogs running wild in Regent’s Park
20th November 2018
The busy streets of London Town are definitely not the first place you would think of when discussing hedgehogs. In fact, most inhabiting the city are recorded on the very outskirts. However, in 2014 with the help of over 150 volunteers, a small population of around 40 hedgehogs were found to be thriving in the very heart of London itself, Regents Park.
The team now return every May and September to study the group, using a combination of technologically advanced methods to collect their data.
So what have they found so far?
“The hedgehogs travel up to 1.5 km, nearly one mile, per night – the equivalent of three stops on the Underground between Regent’s Park and The Angel, Islington!”
Their findings help to reinforce our previous knowledge of their habitats, preferring grassy areas with nesting sites of dense bramble, hedges, or ivy over short ‘well-kept’ grassy plains with little to no coverage. It has also been stated that the average weight of the hedgehogs observed fell above the national average at 960g, meaning they were being well fed within the park.
“A worryingly small number of hedgehogs was found in May 2016 after a number of reported deaths in summer 2015. This highlights the vulnerable nature of the population.”
Unfortunately, not all news it good. Despite observing signs of new young every year, there is growing evidence highlighting the fragility of the group that are found uniquely within the park. Action must still be taken to ensure the continued preservation of this small population.
Thankfully, lots is being done to help
The park is being managed in a way that will continue to provide a richer environment to the population, by allowing grassland to grow and brambles to become denser. Nest boxes and fencing along Prince Albert Road are also being installed, along with access holes across the parks metal railing.
The team are also urging their visitors to make more wildlife friendly choices such as taking their litter with them and not allowing dogs to rummage in undergrowth where hedgehogs may be nesting.
The research is run by the collaborative efforts of The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Garden Wildlife Health Project (GWH), the Central Royal Parks Wildlife Group, Dr Nigel Reeve and Professor John Gurnell, and the ‘Hedgehog Hero’ volunteers of Regent’s Park.