The sanctuary that rescues Eastleigh’s endangered wildlife

Eastleigh Hedgehog Rescue appeals for donations

One of the sanctuary’s patients. pic Eastleigh Hedgehog Rescue

Eastleigh Hedgehog Rescue is urgently in need of donations to help them protect our increasingly endangered hedgehogs from extinction in the UK.

Hedgehogs have recently been classified on the ICUN red list, which places them in the category at risk of extinction. During the 1950’s, an estimated 35 million hedgehogs populated the UK, with the hedgehog population falling to mere one million today – some estimates dipping to as low as half a million. The fall in population, largely due to humans, is a result of not only roadkill but also: strimmers, lawnmowers, netting which the hogs become entangled in, slug pellets, dog attacks and other poisons and insecticides.

The Fair Oak based ‘Hogspital’ officially opened its doors in March 2020, after owner Chrissy Russell completed a course in hedgehog first aid and rehabilitation at Vale Wildlife in Tewkesbury. The sanctuary treated over 100 hedgehogs in the first year, but currently can only care for six patients at a time.

Chrissy’s advice to Eastleigh folk finding a hedgehog out during the day is to most importantly ask yourself if you feel the hedgehog has a purpose? The difference between a still hedgehog and a busy hedgehog which would likely be a nursing mother at this time of year should be clear. If a hedgehog is out during the day, it is likely it could need help since these are nocturnal creatures. It’s important to determine whether this is mother nursing her babies (hoglets,) as this is the exception. If this isn’t the case, one should contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890 801 who hold a current list of all rescues registered with them throughout the country. More information can be found at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk

“We can also help hedgehogs by making our gardens more ‘hedgehog friendly’ as Chrissy explains:

A huge problem is the loss of habitat caused by our modern garden fencing systems. There is is a huge campaign calling for a 5 cm hole to be created in the bottom of all fences.
The campaign is called Hedgehog Highways, and many house building companies are signing up to it. So the most useful thing for a hedgehog friendly garden would be to create a hedgehog highway between yourself and your neighbours, and encourage them to do the same. The territory of a wild hedgehog is approximately one mile every night and being unable to safely navigate their territory, hedgehogs end up on our roads instead of safely crossing gardens.
Other things that you can do are ensure that you have a wild area perhaps at the end of your garden with long grass and perhaps a bush for them to nest underneath. A feeding station can be put out which can be as simple as using a plastic box with a 5-inch hole cut into it it. Place a bowl with some dried cat or kitten biscuits in it, and a plentiful supply of water. Please, never ever put bread or milk down for hedgehogs, and absolutely no mealworms or sunflower hearts, which can cause a metabolic bone disease and kill hedgehogs. You don’t need to buy expensive hedgehog foods, they will live very happily on cat food”

The Hogspital depends entirely on donations with all work undertaken by unpaid volunteers and relies entirely on the generosity of its supporters. Donations made via their GoFundMe page goes towards funding vital equipment such as a Portable Intensive Care unit – the Hospital is currently raising money to buy a vacuum suction unit to remove maggots and flystrike eggs from poorly patients.