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Hedgehogs virtually extinct in South West countryside

A survey by wildlife experts found no hedgehogs in the South West countryside. Credit: ITV West Country

Hedgehogs are virtually extinct in the South West countryside, according to a new survey by wildlife experts.

Overall numbers have dropped by 80% since the 1950s but the survey -carried out on behalf of the People's Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society - found no hedgehogs at all in the South West countryside.

Mechanical farming and use of pesticides are some of the reasons for the decline in rural habitats.

They are now mainly found in gardens and other suburban areas.

Hedgehogs are now often found in suburban areas, mainly in household gardens. Credit: ITV West Country

Carole Deuten runs a hospital in Gloucestershire and rehabilitates sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs, returning them to the wild where possible.

She says one of the reasons for the massive decline in rural numbers is the growth of busy road networks which isolate habitats and cause deaths.

Carole Deuten says the growth of road networks is a significant reason for the decline in rural hedgehogs. Credit: ITV West Country

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust says:

All of the causes for hedgehog decline are about us, humans, whether it's in the countryside where largely we are talking about fragmentation, loss of hedgerows and the increasing use of pesticides.

– Roger Mortlock, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

For advice on how to take care of hedgehogs in your garden, visit:

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