Schoolgirls have looked after more than 500 hedgehogs after setting up their own ‘hogspital’ to care for local wildlife.
Sophie and Kyra, both 13, were inspired to help at the age of nine, after hearing that UK hedgehog populations had fallen from 30 million in 1950 to 1.5 million today.
With the support of their parents, Sophie and Kyra started the Facebook group Hedgehog Friendly Town, as part of a school project in the summer holidays. Kyra’s mum Helen said: “We couldn’t afford to go on holiday that year. Kyra said, ‘What am I going to write about when I go back to school next year?’ It started as that.”
Now they have spaces in their sheds and back gardens where they take care of injured hedgehogs. They have also enlisted local vets to help with medical support.
Sophie and Kyra also care for abandoned baby hedgehogs – hoglets – who need feeding frequently, requiring the girls to tend to them immediately after school, into the evening and again at 6am.
They have given many of their patients funny names, including Bruce Quillis, Amy Spinehouse, David Hasselhog, Hoggy Willoughby, Dick Van Spike and Quilliam Shakespeare.
This year the pair successfully lobbied housing developer Taylor Wimpey to remove netting from hedges. It was used to prevent birds nesting during building work, but the girls argued it would trap hibernating hedgehogs, and have a devastating impact on wildlife.