Hedgehog rescuers in Norfolk need your help! Helping Norfolk Hedgehogs is a group that advises the public on how to deal with hedgehogs they may find. It signposts them to local sanctuaries, are desperate for volunteers to man their helpline. They give training to all new volunteers.
We often associate the image of a vulnerable hedgehog with autumn and winter when they go into hibernation. Actually hedgehogs face threats all year round and not just from predators. During the summer mating season, an injured parent can neglect its hoglets.
Volunteer groups across Norfolk
Because of this, a number of volunteer groups in Norfolk have set about offering support for members of the public that stumble across these beautiful creatures and find them trapped or injured, their nest disturbed, or babies abandoned.
The Helping Norfolk Hedgehogs website has information and guidance about hedgehogs. For example, they counter old information, cautioning not to give hedgehogs a saucer of milk as they are lactose intolerant. They recommend leaving a saucer of water and more beneficial foods such as cat or dog food. Their site also contains the details of the many sanctuary or rescue centres in Norfolk, as well as a helpline for the public to call.
All of these shelters and the helpline itself are reliant on members of the public to volunteer to help staff it. They also offer additional support such as collection and transport of the hedgehogs to shelters or, in some cases, other forms of support to help the shelters build capacity.
Paula, of the Helping Norfolk Hedgehogs said, “We need volunteers. We set up the helpline so they can work from their own home and they will have access to a database of information, as well as support if they face a more complex situation. We try and find a shelter for any hedgehogs that need it, but we have limited spaces. As a last resort, they do go to a vet, but in those situations, they may have to put the hedgehog down.”
Norfolk hedgehogs ‘vulnerable’
The species is classed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ in the British ‘Red List for Mammals’. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species have released an annual report. Analysis suggests that countryside populations of the small mammal have declined by an average of 8.3% a year for the past two decades. The population has faced a steep decline in rural areas. But thanks to increased awareness of their plight, their numbers have been more stable in urban areas.
To become a helpline volunteer, the Helping Norfolk Hedgehogs website says, “Are you a stay at home person? Could you work our helpline telephone for a day a week? They will provide training on how to answer calls, take details, use our database/list to find a rescue who can take the casualty and arrange with finders or our team of First Responders to get them safely to a rescue.”
If you are in Norfolk and would like more information about hedgehogs, or would like to find out more about what’s involved in becoming a volunteer, then please use the link here.