In 2020, idverde’s Telford team took a pledge to be more hedgehog-friendly in its operations, as part of the ‘Help a Hog’ campaign in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council.
Ahead of the 2021 vegetation cutting season, the team at the idverde Telford depot took full advantage of time servicing their equipment to ensure that the majority of strimmers, mowers and clearing saws now display a British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) awareness sticker.
There are many injuries and deaths caused by cutting machinery each year in domestic and commercial situations. idverde operatives are more than aware of the dangers their machinery poses to fragile hedgehogs, with strimmers in early spring/summer a big problem to hedgehogs. It can be a delicate time as hedgehogs could still be in hibernation or very slow to react to disturbance, especially at the beginning of the cutting season in March. Strimming vegetation early in the year, clearing pathways, cutting back under hedges and early spring tidying/maintenance work, can lead to horrific injuries and death to hedgehogs (and other wildlife). In late summer, hoglets are leaving the nest, therefore also in danger from straying into cutting areas.
Although the idverde teams are aware that this is the case and check areas before maintenance, the yellow sticker will further remind operatives to think twice before cutting a site. If only a few hedgehogs a year can be saved by these stickers, it is a win for the species that has suffered further catastrophic declines since the 1990s.
Ben Federico idverde Contract Manager, Telford, commented:
“Wildlife is something we are passionate about here at Telford so when the opportunity arose to help Ross and his team promote hedgehog awareness we were happy to accommodate, we hope that by Telford leading the way on this for idverde other contracts will follow suit.”.
Sam Harris idverde maintenance operative, added:
“We always check the areas before starting any machinery to make sure we are not disturbing any wildlife, but with the added reminder of stickers on the machines, it is beneficial for us and the hedgehogs as we are constantly aware to look out for wildlife”.
Ross Bray, Community & Nature Engagement Officer, idverde/RSPB partnership, who instigated the ‘Help a Hog’ campaign, says:
“This simple idea could be a lifeline to dozens of hedgehogs across idverde contracts and nationwide with other businesses, groups and authorities, who may wish to increase hedgehog awareness during those vital months of the year for foraging and breeding hedgehogs. With an estimated loss of 30million hedgehogs since the 1960s, now is the time to do every little thing we can to stop them from disappearing forever”