By Edward Crespo
The number of hedgehogs in the UK is rapidly dwindling, with recent reports stating that they can now only be found in a fifth of rural areas across the country. With endangered species experts saying this news may have “catastrophic” consequences, it seemed only logical that a festival would be held in celebration for the prickly, woodland creatures. Next month, a hedgehog festival, pointedly named “HedgeFest,” is scheduled to take place at the Sebright Arms pub in Hackney, London. A number of activities will be taking place as part of the festivities on Saturday,November 17, including live music from local bands, poetry readings, and face painting. The organizers of the event have created a GoFundMe page to raise as much money as possible to aid the cause.
“Hedgehogs hold a special place in the hearts and imagination of children and adults alike,” organizers write on the fundraising page.“Sadly, the hedgehog population is declining rapidly, with close to half the population wiped out over the past 15 years and on the decline at a rate of five per cent yearly.”While the festival may have been created with a very noble cause in mind, some people may be disappointed to discover that no hedgehogs will be making appearances during the event. However, it will be fine, as a drinks menu and food specials inspired by hedgehogs will be offered instead. Any excess money raised through GoFundMe page that isn’t needed for the festival will be donated to Hedgehog Street, a charity run by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Earlier this year, a survey found hedgehog sightings in the UK had fallen by a third over the past 18 years.
Kevin Smith, deputy editor of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, spoke about the importance of trying to protect hedgehogs in the country.“It’s alarming to see numbers of our cherished hedgehogs continuing to decline, as they’re such a vital part of any healthy garden and, more widely, our ecosystem,” he said.“On a positive note, British gardeners are doing more than ever to try to save them - with a reduction in slug pellets the biggest single action taken in the last year.” It’s sort of nice that many people want to help protect the hedgehog. I guess it shows that many people would do something for one species.