LONDON, Aug. 12 (UPI) — Hedgehogs, once common across Britain, have suffered a dramatic decline and could disappear from the country within 15 years, a study says.
A 25 percent decline in their numbers has left around a million hedgehogs in Britain and in some areas the decline has been closer to 50 percent, the study found.
The study was headed by retired zoology Professor Toni Bunnell, who said the concern about hedgehogs was based on how fast their population was dwindling.
“Pesticides have eliminated much of their food, such as caterpillars and beetles. Then there has been a reduction of habitat in the countryside, which they are having to share with predatory badgers,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
“They used to be able to go from one garden to another for food but because of fencing they can’t do that any more.”
The hedgehog is just one of many species under threat in Britain, she said.
“I cannot remember the last time I heard a cuckoo, for instance, which used to be one of the iconic sounds of the British countryside.”