Hedgehogs and Small Islands….. If You Don’t Ask – You Can’t Get…..St. Magnus Graffiti Project…Remembering

by Bernie Bell - 08:06 on 11 November 2022


From Hugh Warwick – Hedgehog Hero!…. https://www.change.org/p/help-save-britain-s-hedgehogs-with-hedgehog-highways?redirect=false

“Many years back I was invited over to Jersey by Dru Burdon to talk about hedgehogs at the zoo. She has been running the rescue on the island since 1992 and also helping research take place. I had a great time - borrowed a bike and went cycling around the island!

Jersey is an interesting laboratory - an island with enough hedgehogs from which we can possibly draw lessons as they are studied. They were introduced in the middle of the 19th century at around the same time as the red squirrels. And have, it seems, flourished in the absence of some of the threats that are more common on the mainland. There are fewer cars, and there are no badgers!

But Dru's most recent work shows something alarming. In just the last 10 years, numbers seem to have fallen by a third ... The survey of the island revealed just 900 sightings this year, compared to 1,500 in 2012.

Now all surveys will have some caveats - researcher effort might have been a factor. But there is also the very real chance that this is revealing something true. Not just the decline but also the decline in the absence of badgers ... most updates I find comments from people who believe that we must kill badgers to save hedgehogs ... this is not a very ecologically literate position to take - and here is clear evidence that badgers, while undoubtedly part of the problem, are not the entire problem.

And if we have seen such a population collapse in the relatively benign environment on Jersey, the alarm should ring very loud in deed.

I imagine that a large part of the problem will have been the gradual erosion of our macro invertebrate fauna - as the bugs and other mini beasts slip away, so the animals they feed will also suffer. We tend not to notice those less charismatic animals when they decline - we are unlikely to be raising a petition to bring back the slug, beetle and worm. So - and I apologise for the cliche - our hedgehog is operating very much as a canary in a coal mine ... as a generalist feeder on these animals, they are telling us that all is not well. 

What can we do? Well as ever, we need to ensure that the areas of land we have agency over are managed with hedgehogs in mind. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, please read this guide. If not and you want to get involved, talk to the land managers - those who care for public open space, parks, playing fields. The needs of hedgehogs are quite straightforward ... food, water, shelter and the chance of meeting a mate ... all helped by being able to get from one garden to another ... which is, of course, the reason for the petition!

For Jersey? Well I think this really does need some further research and I hope that Dru is able to drum up enthusiasm and get more work done. Has the insect population suffered? Are people noticing fewer bugs splashed on the windscreens of their cars? Are fewer moths flapping into the kitchen window at night when you accidentally leave the light on? These are all warning signs. I wrote about this in the Guardian over 5 years ago!”

My response…..

You're probably aware that hedgehogs actually became a problem in Uist….


Hard to believe when folk are trying to encourage and preserve them elsewhere - small islands and non-native species don’t appear to mix well – the main thing is to find a balance if possible. 

Stoats arrived in Orkney and the Orkney Vole population declined, but …..the Orkney Vole arrived here from elsewhere, themselves…


A complicated question.”

Re. the declining number of insects….I’m remembering when car windscreens and the visors on biker’s helmets use to get covered in splattered bugs which needed cleaning off every now and then – not so much now - if at all.

And then there are the disappearing native worms, another source of food for hedgehogs … https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/07/16/whats-happened-happening-to-the-worms/

According to the James Hutton Institute…. 

“Many of our native mammals (badgers, shrews, hedgehogs, moles etc.) and birds rely on earthworms as their major source of food for at least some part of the year but there has been no investigation to quantify the deleterious impact the New Zealand flatworm has on their populations”



If You Don’t Ask – You Can’t Get…..

Another of my Mum’s wise sayings.

I received the following from ‘Freedom From Torture’….  https://www.freedomfromtorture.org/

Suella Braverman is back as Home Secretary and still determined to send torture survivors and refugees to Rwanda by Christmas. Meanwhile, she's been spreading dangerous anti-refugee messages to the country. Are you ready to make sure she never gets her dream?

The government's chosen airline Privilege Style has ruled themselves out of being involved. But they need planes to fly and airlines can choose whether to be involved. That's where we come in.


After Privilege Style, the airline that was on the runway in June to fly torture survivors to Rwanda, ruled themselves out, we rang and emailed the remaining airlines: Hi Fly, Wamos and Iberojet. We gave them a chance to say they wouldn't be involved - and Wamos air has already confirmed they will not be part of the cruel Rwanda scheme!

But Hi Fly and Iberojet have not replied, so now it's time to turn up the heat. Will you help us and email the airlines now?

Small private airlines aren't used to getting attention - if thousands of us get in touch, they'll realise just how damaging this cuelty would be for their public image. We can force them not to fly. Let's flood the inboxes of the airlines with emails.


We know this can work. Big airlines have already refused to ship refugees out of the country, after people came together all over the UK and forced them to back out. We've done this before, and we can do it again.

Together, we proved people power works. Let's make sure there are no airlines left for them to use and then let's defeat this cruel scheme once and for all. 

In solidarity, 

Jack Steadman

Head of Digital and Campaigns


Exactly What It Says It Is……

Lots of interesting info. and links to other interesting info……



Remembering…..St. Magnus Cathedral ‘Weeping Window’ of Poppies - 2016




Here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/02/07/the-brodgar-graffiti-project-sunday-3rd-feb-2019/

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