Woodlands – Last chance for soft release sites to take hedgehogs before winter

28th September 2017

Hedgehog rescue and rehabilitation is a year round task for the team at Woodlands Animal Sanctuary, they have had days where they have admitted up to 10 hogs in one day! Each hog can cost the charity up to £150 in care costs and medication, and so when that is coupled with the high number of admittances’ you can see how the time and money needed to carry out this important work increases rapidly.

As hedgehogs are a wild animal it is actually illegal to keep them in captivity permanently. Therefore, releasing hogs from designated soft release sites is a very important aspect of the work Woodlands does. Each site is checked and clarified by one of the trained team of staff to ensure that each hog has the best chance of survival possible and the team are very grateful to the dedicated Woodlands supporters who, once they have successfully released one hog will often return to take more.

However, there is a specific window of opportunity for hogs to be released and the team are getting close to that window closing now. Hannah one of the charities newest members of staff says “in the short time I have been at Woodlands I have mainly been working with the hedgehogs. It’s really great to be able to work with an animal like this at such close proximity – the real reward though is seeing them going back to the wild and their natural environment. It really makes you feel like all your hard work and effort has paid off! Being able to work with members of the public to achieve an end goal is also really rewarding – because their part in the rehabilitation of each hog is just as important as ours. We would love to get more people involved with this so we can get even more hogs back out where they belong”

Once the weather really turns and frost becomes more frequent Woodlands will not release any further hogs until the weather warms up sufficiently. This means that however many hogs are in their care at the moment will have to be cared for all winter before they can be released again next spring. This is not to mention all the ones that will continue to be admitted over the coming winter months.

During the winter of 2015 Woodlands Animal Sanctuary over wintered 150 hedgehogs, all of which were checked and monitored daily to ensure they maintained their health, which I’m sure you will agree is no mean feat!

To qualify as a soft release site for hedgehogs for Woodlands Animal Sanctuary you simply need to be able to provide a hutch for the hog to live in for two weeks in your garden prior to being released. There must be access into and out of your garden for the hog (Woodlands will require photographic evidence of this prior to agreeing for you to be a release site) and you must agree to provide food suitable for the hog for 365 days a year thereafter.

If you think this is something you would like to be involved with then please email the sanctuary, info@animalsanctuary.org.uk with photos of your garden, complete with suitable (rabbit) hutch and hedgehog entry and exit routes. A member of the team will then get in touch with you to move the process forwards.

If you don’t feel that you could release a hog but would still like to help, why not make a donation to the charity instead. Woodlands runs solely on donations and monies raised from their own fundraising activities and so any donation is always greatly appreciated. You can donate online via the website, send in a cheque or you could go along to their next spooktacular Halloween event on 15th October to meet the animals and leave a donation then.