Words & Photos by Katie Kennedy
Hedgehog numbers in the UK have dropped from an estimated 30 million in 1950 to under 1 million in 2018, putting them on the UK’s endangered list.
At Hogwatch Dumbarton, a rescue rehabilitation and teaching centre for hedgehogs, they are trying to change this.
Started two years ago by a kind, compassionate local lady, Dawn Sharkey, who transformed her husband’s double garage into a rescue centre specialising in critical lifesaving care for
hedgehogs struggling to cope and survive.
Dawn explained the animals’ biggest challenges are the loss of hedgerows and erecting of fencing which fragments their habitats.
Also, the use of pesticides and slug repellents and getting trapped in things like netting or falling down holes.
Squeak (pictured below) is a hoglet who fell down an open drain missing its cover, a passerby heard her screams 22 inches down and called Hogwatch, who travelled to pick her up and take her back to the centre.
As you can see from her little face, Squeak is becoming stronger.
Usually, they would be euthanised but Hogwatch have built a great relationship with a local vet practice and they work together with medications and critical care to do everything humanly possible to give these injured or disabled animals healing and a full life.
At the teaching and rehabilitation centre there is hydrotherapy available, and stookies for broken limbs are all part of the incredible care.
If you spot a hedgehog some things to cause concern – out in the daytime; sitting still not moving for long periods or being trapped.
Hogwatch Dumbarton is currently fundraising to invest in new insulated hutches, and vital incubators and to complete the insulation of the infirmary roof.
They are also recruiting new volunteers.
To find out more about training to be a hedgehog foster carer or ambulance driver, or to donate to this good cause, please contact Dawn on 07712 254382 or via the Hogwatch Dumbarton