WARNING – DISTURBING IMAGES AT END
Press release – for immediate release
16th August 2018
FROM: HedgeOX – the campaign to save Oxfordshire’s hedgehogs
Yesterday evening, Oxford resident Jamie Clarke was horrified to find a hedgehog killed in the squirrel trap he had reluctantly had positioned in his garden by a pest control company.
“My first thought was to keep my children from seeing it – as they love hedgehogs and would have been distraught to find we had inadvertently killed one. My second was anger – how could a pest control company be so reckless as to place traps like this in our garden?”
It is now well known that hedgehog populations are declining dramatically. The latest results from the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report, published earlier this year, reveal that urban hedgehog numbers are down by 30% since the turn of the century, and rural numbers down over 50%.
This is the reason that HedgeOX was launched (in June, with Pam Ayres, at Oxford’s Natural History Museum) – and for the most part the campaign is very positive. The reaction to our presence at Countryfile Live, for example, was overwhelmingly positive.
But to find that traps are being used, the WCS Tube Trap in this case, which can kill hedgehogs is an outrage.
The pest controller who set the trap said “In over 10 years of work I have never seen this happen and I was utterly gutted when I found the poor hedgehog. I told the client, I will spread the word to the industry, we must ensure that traps are set in such a way that hedgehogs are not killed.”
Fay Vass, CEO of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, said, “This is a very distressing case, but sadly not isolated. We have been in touch with DEFRA about the dangers traps pose to our dwindling hedgehog population. Their response has been that it is down to the trapper to ensure non-target species are excluded from traps. Here we clearly see how even a professional with many years’ experience failed to do this and the result is another dead hedgehog. BHPS has been campaigning against the use of the A24 trap in the UK, developed to kill hedgehogs in New Zealand, and now being sold unaltered here, it is widely available online and is of great concern.”
The threats that Oxfordshire’s hedgehogs face are many and include: being killed on the roads, having their ability to move through gardens blocked by new fencing (put in a hedgehog hole!) and having the rural landscape become inhospitable through loss of food and shelter. The death of this one hedgehog alerts us all to an additional threat. But this is one we can really do something about.
Make sure that if a trap must be used it is hedgehog safe. And always consider non-lethal control as the first option.
For more information about HedgeOX – please contact Hugh Warwick
HedgeOX is funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the Felix Byam Shaw Foundation.
For more information about the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs:
For more information about the BHPS A24 Trap Campaign: