Fears over Tower Hamlets’ hedgehogs after just three sightings in past three years
PUBLISHED: 16:32 29 July 2013 | UPDATED: 16:32 29 July 2013
Urban hedgehogs are facing a prickly future after just three sightings were reported in Tower Hamlets in the past three years.
The spiky critters could become endangered species within a decade if their populations continue to dwindle.
In the past, they were frequently spotted on the Isle of Dogs near Mudchute Farm, as well as nestled in the greenery of Victoria Park.
But just two sightings were reported in 2011, and one in 2012 – with no hedgehogs spotted yet this year.
Henry Johnson, who is a hedgehog officer at the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, said the number of sightings nationally has gone down by a third in the past decade.
“The main issue with central London is fragmentation of habitats,” he explained.
“They need big areas of land; not just one garden or a street of gardens but maybe a nearby park too. People have very secure gardens [in London]. Land is not linked up so you get localised extinctions.”
But he said animal lovers could take comfort from the fact that records of sightings still exist across the capital.
Experts say increased traffic, wider use of slug pellets and urban foxes might also have contributed to the decline.
Tower Hamlets Council’s biodiversity team is now calling on residents who spot one of the prickly animals to get in touch on 0207 364 7478.
Have you seen a hedgehog in the East End? Call the news desk on 0208 477 3834, or email reporter Robin de Peyer on email@example.com with your pictures.