Branchage appeal to help cut hedgehog fatalities

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

A conservation group has called on people in Jersey to help preserve more wildlife and prevent more hedgehog fatalities during the island's practice of branchage.

Islanders who do not cut back their hedges that overhang roads and pathways can be fined.

There are inspections across the parishes of the island in July and September.

Action for Wildlife Jersey said the Branchage Working Group had to change its approach to this year’s awareness campaign due to Covid-19 restrictions and the group had launched its first ever video campaign to raise awareness of best practices that would reduce threats to local wildlife.


Chairman of Action for Wildlife Jersey, Chris Perkins, said changes made to branchage working practices "continue to benefit banques and hedges, which are such important wildlife corridors and nesting sites".

However, the numbers of injured hedgehogs in the care of the Jersey Hedgehog Group was higher than this time in 2019, with 21 seriously injured hedgehogs in its care, he said.

He said: "More than 85% of these injuries, caused by strimmers, have been fatal. The increase in hedgehog injuries is likely to be a result of more people spending time in their gardens during lockdown, with a resultant increase in strimmer use."

He added that the Branchage Working Group was urging landowners and contractors to continue following new branchage guidelines, and gardeners should try to avoid using strimmers and "should always check for the presence of animals such as hedgehogs before beginning work".

People now spotting 'randy' - not 'flattened' - hedgehogs

Neil Heath

BBC News Online

A wildlife expert has been explaining how lockdown restrictions have been helping urban wildlife while engaging more people with nature.

Michael Walker, who is Nottinghamshire's mammal recorder, said he has had people sending him videos of "randy" hedgehogs trying to mate.

Hedgehog on the road
Getty Images

"Hedgehogs have become extremely active and people are noticing them more in their gardens," he said.

"I've had a video sent to me of a male pursuing a female, a few nights ago, very noisily.

"When two males are involved, it can cause quite a commotion with even more huffing."

Hedgehog in the grass
Getty Images

Mr Walker believes it is not that there is an increase of species, but that people are experiencing wildlife more as they are at home and are taking more walks.

"I think it's down to more awareness," he said.

"But you could say with fewer cars on the roads it could be reducing hedgehog mortality.

"You usually see lots of flattened hedgehogs at this time of year."

Mr Walker, who works for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, has appealed for help in recording wildlife during this period.

He would especially like to hear about what has been seen in the usually busy city areas.