Despite efforts to increase the quality of nature in The Netherlands, the WNF (World Nature Foundation, the Dutch branch of the WWF) has published a report claiming that the quality of nature in the small European country is still declining and it’s causing concenrs for common wild species such as hedgehogs, rabbits, vipers and some bird and butterfly species. Because of dehydrating of sandgrounds, nature reserves have become too sparse to support a thriving biodiversity.
Hedgehogs in The Netherlands
European hedgehogs are a species native to The Netherlands and they have been drastically declining since the 70’s. Their extinction has been a major concern throughout the 90’s and the 2000’s. In recent years, populations have been noted to increase due to efforts in conservation and throughout education to the Dutch citizens to help hedgehogs thrive in their gardens. They’re no longer considered a major concern, but they’re not completely safe yet either. Due to industrialisation and people tiling up their gardens, there’s less space for hedgehogs to live. Put a declining quality of our nature on top and you’ve got a recipe for disaster hitting not just hedgehogs, but a large group of common species of wild animals.
What can we do?
Reading this you might be sparked to spring into action and that’s amazing! Because there are ways to help, especially if you live in Europe and especially if you live in The Netherlands. By suppoprting insects in your garden through insect hotels and insect friendly plants, you can help to create enough food for a hedgehog to munch on. Providing a hedgehog house helps to give them a place to sleep and even to breed or to hibernate. Cat kibble and water can help hedgehogs to stay alive when they can’t find food elsewhere. Found a hedgehog wounded, underweight or walking throughout the day when they’re not supposed to? Then you can call a hedgehog rescue to pick them up and nurture them back to health to release them back into the wild again. You can also donate to several organisations to help support conservation and rescue centers.
What does The Hedgehog Program do to help
At this moment in time, we are proud members of the Dutch associations of the Zoogdiervereniging (Mammals association) and the IVN nature education. These association put in a great effort to organise research projects and to educate nature lovers. Both having several working groups to focus research projects and conservation projects on specific species that need the help in order to survive and thrive. Apart from that, we also do our own research towards hedgehogs to help discover new information about a hedgehogs basic needs and everyday life. We are planning to design an online course in European hedgehogs specifically to help people to understand the things they can do to help our nature’s quality throughout their lives and what they can do with their gardens to promote biodiversity in their area.
Article by Judith Dunkirk.