Hoggy New Year! A huge thank you to everyone that has supported me on my journey and my third year of hedgehog rescue. This is a quick look back on Little Silver Hedgehog during 2015 and a look forward to the year ahead.
We started 2015 with 13 hedgehogs being over-wintered from 2014. Spring saw them successfully released back to the wild including my special boy, Max. He was found in Winter 2014 severely underweight and not eating. He was hand fed and given fluids all over Christmas including Christmas Day and lived in our spare bedroom to ensure he was warm. What a brilliant Christmas present when he turned a corner and started to thrive!
The rest of the year brought in almost 70 hedgehogs – a huge spike in admissions on 2014 as awareness of Little Silver Hedgehog has grown and the public has become more knowledgeable of the plight facing our prickly pals.
Spring saw an influx of orphans including Fred and Ginger who had rolled out of their nest and down a steep bank. The bank was so overgrown it was impossible to find their nest again. ‘Peeping’ for their mum alerted the finder to their plight and they were luckily rescued. And baby Iggy who was found in a car park with no sign of his mum, severely dehydrated.
Late Summer and Autumn and still they kept arriving. Many in Summer 2014 arrived with multiple internal parasites – roundworm, lungworm and fluke, on top of severe dehydration and starvation. A contrast to 2013 when most arrived with only one internal parasite. Cold, wet weather struck just as baby hedgehogs were emerging on their first foraging trips and food sources dwindled. We suffered a number of tragic losses – our worst since opening in 2012.
But there were also happy stories. Two babies, Spike and Fuzzypeg, whose nest had been attacked and had been left for days in the hot weather on their own on a lawn, survived. A miracle given that fly eggs had hatched on Spike and got inside his ear. They were the smallest orphans I have raised at only 66g and 70g.
I learned a lot last year, including how to hand feed orphaned hoglets and to help them go to the toilet as well as how to remove maggots from ears – gross!
Hedgehogs kept coming right through December and we currently have 27 in care here or out with with foster carers. It’s a busy start to 2016!
Wildlife rescues are entirely self-funded and, with even more mouths to feed and medicines to buy, fundraising has been more important than ever. I am indebted to the many people who have donated food, equipment and money to help us keep going.
The handmade jewellery I create to raise funds also went from strength to strength in 2015 www.littlesilverhedgehog.etsy.com. I introduced new wildlife designs and created a new Little Silver Hedgehog logo, working with a local York illustrator. I wrote a leaflet to accompany each order to help spread the word about how people can help hedgehogs.
There is much to look forward to in 2016. I’m planning to increase the number of talks I give to help raise awareness of how people can help hedgehogs. My network of foster carers play a vital role over-wintering hedgehogs once they are fit and well and I’d like to expand and grow the army of volunteers I’ll need to help even more hedgehogs. I hope to find more time to be creative and create even more jewellery to help raise vital funds.
I hope 2016 is a happy and healthy one for hedgehogs but somehow I think we’ll be busier than ever….