A Barnes campaign group for hedgehogs is appealing for support for its “Hedgehog Superhighway” this winter.
Barnes resident Michel Birkenwald set up the Barnes Hedgehogs campaign after he discovered a small hedgehog living in his garden eight years ago.
The superhighway is made up of approximately 1000 little holes cut in people’s fences and hedges across the area, including gardens in Mortlake, Putney, Sheen and Richmond.
Michel said: “I realised that urban areas had become the Alamo for hedgehogs.
“The aim was to make people aware that in our urban areas, we do have hedgehogs and that we need to look after them to help them to survive.
“Our wildlife is in such trouble, because people are so wrapped up in their own little lives that they pay very little attention to their environment.
“Hedgehogs, birds and so many other creatures are in trouble purely because of man.
“It’s been an amazing adventure, I have to say, for the past eight years, but we need to carry on the work we need to do to protect them.
“Barnes Hedgehog Superhighway has saved many lives and we hope it will continue to do so.”
Michel, a jeweller by trade, became fascinated by how he could help hedgehogs survive after his dog, a bull terrier, found a one in the garden, and further research showed him that they were in trouble.
With winter approaching, he advises people to check under the wood of bonfires, and look out for baby hedgehogs – hoglets – who if spotted during the daytime may be in trouble.
The Barnes Hedgehog campaign also provides an emergency rescue service, but if you find a wounded hedgehog you can take it to a local vet first.
“Be careful especially in south west London, when you mow the lawn, use the strimmer, or put poison in your garden. Just connect back to nature,” added Michel.
“I advise that people create emotional connections with the hedgehogs.
“If you start feeding an animal every night it becomes their routine, it’s like somebody coming around for cocktails every night.”
If you want to be part of the Hedgehog Superhighway you can contact Michel.