This month’s Hedgehog Hero is 78-year-old Irene Cannon, who was nominated by many for her commitment to helping hedgehogs. Irene has been working alone over the past year as she had to isolate due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here she tells us about her passion for hedgehogs and her fundraising efforts:
When did you first start looking after hedgehogs?
My involvement with hedgehogs started about 20 years ago when I found a hedgehog out during the day in the autumn months. Looking after the hedgehog made me realise I needed to know much more about their needs in order for me to continue to help them. To build my knowledge and experience I went on the First Aid, Care & Rehabilitation of Hedgehogs Course at Vale Wildlife in Gloucestershire and another in Yorkshire.
After I completed the courses, I realised that helping hedgehogs was a true passion and so that is when I decided to create Furness Hedgehog Rescue.
What is it about caring for hedgehogs that you love?
I love hedgehogs. They ask for so little; just food and water and somewhere to sleep.
They are the most gentle little creatures – although I have had a few bites over the years!
What can we do to help hedgehogs off the extinction list?
Everyone should put a fresh bowl of water out every night whether you have a garden or not. Dehydration is a terrible thing.
For those that have gardens, it would help hedgehogs immensely if you create a hedgehog highway by simply having a 5″ gap in your fence or wall. If you have a pond, make sure there is an escape route for hedgehogs to get out, as many of them fatally drown in ponds every year.
Do you do any fundraising?
I do lots of fundraising. I sell hedgehog related items, most of which are donated by friends of the rescue. This year has been difficult because of Covid but on dry days I have been putting a small table outside my house to sell some of our hedgehog items. The support has been amazing.
Why do you think so many people nominated you to be a Hedgehog Hero?
I think a lot of people have nominated me because I run the only rescue in the area and I live in a small town where most people know me. Over the years I have saved countless hedgehogs and sometimes have over 100 overwintering or in need of care.
What does it mean to you to be named the Spike’s Hedgehog Hero for May?
I think it is a great honour to be named May’s Hedgehog Hero with people recognising what I do and appreciating all the effort I put in on a daily basis.
Congratulations to Irene for being named this month’s Hedgehog Hero and for continuing your efforts throughout a difficult year!