We are delighted to announce that our Hedgehog Hero for September is Dave Lunn. Dave takes in hundreds of hedgehogs a year, helping those that are injured or ill before releasing them back into the wild. We spoke to Dave to find out more about where his love of hedgehogs stems from and how we can all make a difference when it comes to protecting the nation’s hogs.
How did you first become interested in hedgehogs?
I have always been fond of hedgehogs. My house is full of animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and more and I try to promote animal welfare. I started rescuing hedgehogs a few years ago; there’s so much more to it than just cleaning and feeding them.
What do you think is the best thing about hedgehogs?
They’re cute and full of character but they’re also quintessentially British! I know they exist in other countries but they’re on our christmas cards and our tv ads. When you think of British wildlife, hedgehogs are often one of the first animals that spring to mind.
What can we all do to promote hedgehog welfare?
We need to spread awareness about the decline of the species, as they are vulnerable to extinction. Social media is massive and luckily, hedgehog awareness is now starting to spread in Britain. Celebrities like Sir Brian May do what they can to champion hedgehogs and we need to keep pushing their plight as much as we can.
What is your process when it comes to caring for hedgehogs?
When a hedgehog first arrives at the rescue, I do a visual check for problems like bleeding, ticks, maggots, fly eggs and dehydration. If the hedgehog is dehydrated, I administer fluids. Once the hedgehog defecates, I examine the faeces under a microscope to check for any parasites. I also weigh them and make a note of this so I can track their progress over time. One thing I always do as well is name them! (although I have a strict ‘no sonic’ policy).
My goal is always to cure any illness or injury, help the hedgehog get nice and fat and then release it back into the wild.
Do you do any fundraising to raise money for hedgehogs?
Hedgehog rescues are expensive to run so fundraising is a necessity. We constantly have to replenish our supply of incubators, microscopes, food, bedding and cleaning materials so we need all the help we can get. I have a few amazing supporters that make soft toys, garden signs and cards for hogs they’ve taken a shine to.
Do you have any other plans for hedgehog welfare on the horizon?
Unfortunately, there’s not enough hours in the day to do everything I’d like to do for hedgehogs. I’m just going to try and do my best for hedgehog welfare with the resources I have.
What do you think the future looks like for hedgehogs?
The future of the UK hedgehog population is very bleak I’m afraid. This is due to the destruction of their natural habitats, as well as our increased use of garden chemicals. During the first lockdown we saw wildlife thrive in the UK, which further demonstrates the negative impact humans can have on our ecosystems.
We need to continue to encourage our government to intervene, ensuring hedgehog rescue centres are protected and hedgehog welfare is a priority.
Thank you Dave for the amazing work you do! You can connect with Dave via Facebook.