Hedgehog populations in rural Britain continue to decline, according to studies. Based on the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report, the number of hedgehogs in rural areas has plummeted by 30 to 75 percent since 2000. Statistics show that hedgehogs numbers are beginning to recover in towns and cities, which is a “stark contrast.” Hedgerows and field edges are critical habitats for prickly mammals, and their loss could hasten their extinction.

The report reviewed data from five ongoing surveys conducted between 1981 and 2020 by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS). Hedgehog numbers have been dropping for a long time, but the study claims that there are now “vast differences” between urban and rural populations. Fay Vass, the BHPS’s chief executive, said that immediate effort is needed to figure out why rural areas are no longer appropriate hedgehog habitats. “They have lived here for at least half a million years,” she said. “So we need to understand how conservationists, farmers, and land managers can work together to prevent hedgehogs from becoming extinct in the countryside.” The picture in cities, towns, and villages, according to the charities, is, perhaps surprisingly, much better.