Cat curfew needed to protect decline in hedgehogs
NewsThursday 01 August 2013
Wildlife experts are calling for cat curfews across the world to help protect hedgehogs which are in rapid decline due to being hunted by cats. A curfew is already operating in Australia which has a serious problem with the decline in the hedgehog population.
Rosie Catford who is from the Wildlives Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Thorrington, Essex said that more than 200 million birds are killed alone by domestic cats in the UK. Other targets include small mammals such as hedgehogs..
She wants to see what is happening in Australia happen in the UK.
'They have a cat curfew in Australia as they have wiped out a lot of the native wildlife,' she said.
'I would like to see something like that in this country.
'It's not just birds they kill - the first baby hedgehogs we had come in this year were orphaned when the mother was killed by a cat.
'In Australia they have cat patrols going around with wagons and nets - any cats seen out at night after the curfew are caught and impounded and the owners have to pay a fine.'
With the natural wildlife struggling enough already with the current weather patterns, cats just add a much more difficult problem.
In the UK in 1990 there were said to be around 33 million hedgehogs. In 2013 there are said to be just less than a million. The hedgehog has even survived the dinosaur
It has to be remembered that cats are not native to countries like the UK. They were domesticated and brought from desert areas so it only makes sense that they are having a serious impact on the natural wildlife balance.
Hedgehogs face a variety of problems from the modern world. There are many road deaths involving them and in the early 2000s the McFlurry carton by McDonalds posed a huge problem to them. Their heads would become stuck in the carton after being attracted to the smell and they would be unable to move so they would starve to death. Due to strong and firm petitioning by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society McDonalds redesigned the packaging in 2006 to be more hedgehog friendly.