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Hedgehog Population

The UK's rural hedgehog population has halved in the last 20 years

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The UK's hedgehog population has been cut in half since the turn of the century.

According to a report by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), the prickly mammals aren't faring so well in rural areas, where the popularization of artificial turf and concrete in gardens has taken away the creatures' natural habitat. The report also cites climate change, as well as the construction of roads and houses, as contributing factors in the drop in numbers.

UK Hedgehogs
The hedgehog population in the UK's countryside has been chopped in half, while the city hedgehog population has leveled off after a similar drop.

But experts say the creatures are slightly better off in cities. The number of hedgehogs killed on roads has fallen, and the population in urban areas has leveled off after a steep decrease.

BHPS is asking Britons to keep cat food outside for wandering hedgehogs, and to keep wild areas in their gardens

Some have already been doing their part for years. Yvonne Cox has tended to sick and injured hedgehogs in her back garden for two decades. And the Secret World Wildlife Rescue currently has 60 hedgehogs in its care.

Founder of the rescue centre, Pauline Kidner says modern farming methods and changes in garden trends are directly affecting hedgehog numbers.

Right now, the spiny mammals are hibernating. BHPS and the People's Trust for Endangered Species hope that soon, their efforts can bring the hedgehogs' numbers back up from their two-decade drop.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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