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New ‘Hedgehog Species Champion’ appointed

The Rt Hon Chris Grayling, MP has become the new ‘Species Champion’ for the UK’s native hedgehog.

The team behind Hedgehog Street, a nationwide campaign set up to help halt the ongoing decline in native hedgehog numbers, will today present Chris Grayling with a special ‘Species Champion’ certificate at his Ministerial Office in the Houses of Parliament, to celebrate starting his new role.

Emily Wilson, Hedgehog Officer for Hedgehog Street says: “We are thrilled to have Mr Grayling’s support for hedgehogs in Government. Hedgehogs are in rapid decline, and the Hedgehog Street campaign was set up to try and help protect our native hedgehogs. With support from Westminster and having the Minister championing the conservation and protection of this iconic species, we believe that hedgehogs have a fighting chance”.

The Species Champion initiative, led by the RSPB, sees MPs from across the UK championing various flora and fauna, from mammals, fish and reptiles to trees and wildflowers. Chris Grayling is the second hedgehog advocate, following his predecessor Oliver Colvile MP.

Chris Grayling says: “Surveys by hedgehog experts tell us that we have lost over a third of all our hedgehogs in the past decade. And they are still declining.  The reasons for their decline are complex, but I hope to be able to promote the conservation of this animal in Government and see hedgehog numbers back on the rise once again”.

Hedgehog Street was set up in 2011 by wildlife charities the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). To date, over 46,000 volunteers (known as Hedgehog Champions) have signed up to help save Britain’s favourite mammal, whose populations are known to have declined by at least half in rural areas and by up to a third in urban areas since the year 2000.

To find out more about Hedgehog Street, to become a Hedgehog Champion, and/or help hedgehogs visit: hedgehogstreet.org

Chris also visited the Surrey Wildlife Aid as pictured:

“It is clear from the figures that responsible wildlife centres like The Wildlife Aid Foundation in Surrey have an important role to play in the recovery of hedgehog populations. WAF has been working for over 35 years to conserve the species and according to the projections, their work will have had a major impact on boosting wild hedgehog numbers. As Hedgehog Champion, I support the work these unsung hedgehog heroes do each year looking after young animals that would not otherwise survive and returning them to the wild to breed. I hope my colleagues in Parliament will also support such ventures with a view to helping make hedgehogs a common sight in gardens and countryside once again.”