Meet the Hedgehog Champions: Cate from Methyr Tydfil
5th May 2020
Hedgehog Awareness Week Day 3
Cate lives in southeast Wales and has been involved in hedgehog conservation for 5 years, following a TV call-out for volunteers. Since then she’s set up a local initiative to help hedgehogs, and is also involved in hedgehog care and rehabilitation.
Not a Hedgehog Champion yet? You can sign up HERE.
How long have you been a Hedgehog Champion?
I responded to a request for hedgehog survey work on an episode of BBC Autumn Watch about 5 years ago. Along with hundreds of other people, I was lucky enough to be chosen to undertake a 2-week survey in my local park, the National Hedgehog Survey. I had never seen a live hedgehog until then.
How did you then get involved in hedgehog rehabilitation?
I joined a hedgehog rescue charity 4 years ago and had some basic training in hedgehog care and rescue. I then attended the fantastic hedgehog rehabilitation course at Vale Wildlife Hospital in Tewkesbury ran in conjunction with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS). After which, I listed myself as a rescue with BHPS.
I have been lucky enough to be encouraged in my interest by a retired vet, several local veterinary practices and a retired hedgehog carer with years of experience. To rescue hedgehogs it is essential that to be fully supported by a vet and have adequate training.
There is nothing more satisfying than treating a really injured animal with care and patience and then being able to release if for a second chance at life.
I always try and return the hedgehog to where it has come from and have encouraged people to install nest boxes, feeding stations and hedgehog highways in their gardens. Many are now being rewarded with night-time visits by multiple hedgehogs! Even a modern garden will get these hedgehog visits if the conditions are right.
What does the local hedgehog initiative involve?
The results of the National Hedgehog survey indicated that we had a hedgehog hot spot in this part of south Wales but that nothing was being done to inform and educate the local people to help value and protect the hedgehogs.
We now have a hedgehog ‘estate’, and the rescue group includes a lot of people…
- The local village shop provides cardboard boxes for nesting areas for the hedgehogs whilst they are in their pens under treatment.
- There are people collecting old newspapers and hay for bedding material.
- Several gardens have nest boxes for hibernation and feeding stations.
- I put posters up to remind people that there are hedgehogs in the area and provide a phone number for people to call if they find a sick or injured hedgehog.
- I have a team of bed and breakfast carers working with me now who look after the hedgehogs that need longer-term rehabilitation.
- Talking to dog walkers to make sure they are aware that there are hedgehogs in the area is also good.
People are generous with their time and really are genuinely interested if you tell them about the hedgehogs and what they can do to help them.