Chelmsford: Hedgehog mural raises awareness of mammals' decline




  • In Science
  • 2022-09-30 15:57:48Z
  • By BBC

A hedgehog mural has been painted at a shopping centre to raise awareness of a campaign to try to stop the mammals' numbers declining.

The painting commissioned by the Essex Wildlife Trust adorns a wall at the High Chelmer shopping centre in Chelmsford.

Hedgehog numbers have decreased in the last 10 years and the trust wants to encourage people to help them.

"Everyone can do something," a spokeswoman said.

Mural artist David "Gnasher" Nash, of Gnasher Murals, created the artwork that reminds the public wildlife lives in urban landscapes as well as rural ones.

The trust is also launching a new Nature Neighbours campaign to help protect vulnerable species over the colder seasons, which is concentrating on hedgehogs for its inaugural year.

Campaigns officer, Bailey Tait, said: "Nature Neighbours is about creating a home for wildlife in your garden, specifically hedgehogs as they are decreasing.

"They have actually declined by about 30% in the last ten years and surprisingly they are declining as fast as tigers.

"This mural is raising awareness of all the things people can do to help, but it's also a really, really important reminder that we have to protect wildlife at the moment, whether that's on nature reserves or in cities, nature is everywhere and everyone can do something."

Ms Tait said hedgehogs helped to "maintain a healthy ecosystem" as they "keep the insect populations in check".

Hedgehog
Hedgehog  

She added their decline was due to "habitat loss but also habitat fragmentation", as building developments block their usual routes and changes to farming practices have reduced hedgerows.

"Hedgehog habitats are getting smaller," she said, "but there are also barriers which mean that it's harder for hedgehogs to roam across the county, find mates and find food, so all of that combined is causing a big old decline in what is one of the UK's favourite mammals, which is so disappointing.

"[We're] not only [encouraging people] to create hedgehog houses but also to create holes in fences and add them to our virtual hedgehog highway map so we can link up these new hedgehog highways so hedgehogs can roam feely across the county again."

The trust said the public could also help by putting out wet cat or dog food and water in shallow dishes.

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