Help Our Hedgehogs
Did you know hedgehogs are endangered and at risk of extinction? I didn’t until I went along to Chorley Hedgehog Rescue to find out more about the amazing work that goes on to save these beautiful creatures, writes Tracy Hargreaves
On arriving at the hedgehog centre I was greeted by several volunteers busy cleaning out hutches, sorting out food and keeping up to date with the notes for every hedgehog at the rescue.
Every nook and cranny of founder Janette Jones’ home and garden is taken up with hedgehogs, all of which have been brought in by members of the public, injured, ill or just too small to look after themselves. The centre is now in its fifth year and is getting busier than ever. Currently there are 150 hedgehogs being cared for by Janette and her team, with an additional 50 in foster care with volunteers and that figure looks set to rise.
Janette is clearly passionate about what she does. “It’s a 24/7 job and I never switch off,” she says. “We are a not for profit organisation and it costs us around £1500-£2000 a month, which goes towards vet bills, medication, food, hutches and much more.”
Janette is fully qualified in hedgehog rehabilitation and is keen to educate people on how to keep them safe. “Hedgehogs need to keep hydrated, but never give them milk, as they are lactose intolerant, simply place a shallow dish of water in your garden. If you want to feed them, get some cat food, preferably chicken based or kitten biscuits. With the warmer temperatures over the winter months, many no longer hibernate, but might find shelter under a shed. Put some dry hay underneath to keep them warm. They also do not have fleas, unless they are poorly. But they are not to be handled or treated as pets.”
Chorley Hedgehog Rescue, rescues and rehabilitates wild hedgehogs that are sick, injured or orphaned and releases them back into the wild when healthy, with the aim of increasing the population of hedgehogs in Chorley and Lancashire.
“We are always looking for support and donations from members of the public,” adds Janette. “Either by volunteering time on a regular basis, donating newspapers, old towels, dressing gowns and food or you can pay a donation direct to the two vets that we work closely with Adlington Veterinary Centre and Chorley Vets.
“We are a busy, thriving hospital providing critical and intensive care for hedgehogs,” adds Janette. “Through more education, my aim for the future is to provide a full training centre in Lancashire where people can find out more about hedgehogs and help protect these wonderful animals.”
If you find a hedgehog with a severe injury, take it straight to the vets or call your nearest centre for advice on what to do.
As well as Chorley Hedgehog Rescue there are other centres in the area in Leyland, Preston and Blackpool, check out their Facebook pages for further information.
For more information on Chorley Hedgehog Rescue visit: www.chorleyhedgehogrescue.co.uk