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Hedgehog hospital needs your help
3:50pm Friday 20th July 2012 in News
IT seems strange having a shed INSIDE your garage.
But for John and Vicki Rider it serves a lifesaving purpose – as their very own hedgehog hospital.
The College of West Anglia lecturer and his wife have as many as 40 little hedgehogs in their care at their Fakenham home at any one time.
And it is far easier to heat a 6ft by 4ft shed than a whole garage.
Staff and friends at the College of West Anglia in King’s Lynn have been keen to support the hedgehog hospital, raising money in different ways and bringing in shredded paper for bedding.
John, a skills for life lecturer, said forecasts were that the entire hedgehog population would be extinct in the UK by 2025, victims of roadkills and garden and farm accidents.
There were only around a million left, from 30 million in the 1950s, and there are growing calls to have them protected as an endangered species.
“We are not a breeding programme for hedgehogs,” said John. “We help the ones we can and then return them to the wild.”
Some 50,000 to 100,000 were killed on the roads every year and the current period of wet weather had flushed out more into danger.
At their home in Queens Road, Vicky and John do their best to help hedgehogs which have been hit by cars or even lost legs after an encounter with a garden strimmer.
They can administer painkillers, vitamin jabs and antibiotics.
Many lives are saved and those which cannot be returned to the wild, which can end up blind or three-legged, and continue to need human support become one of the ten to 15 permanent residents at the hedgehog hospital.
Some of the smallest start life as weighing only 28 grammes and measuring one-and-a-half inches long. They need hand-rearing, a labour of love for Vicki and John.
Anyone wishing to help the Fakenham hedgehog hospital should contact them on 01328 863324.
• A fundraising Hedgehog Rescue Open Day will be held at Action for Animals centre at Arcturus, Erpingham, in North Norfolk, from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, July 21.
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