Dublin City Council’s biodiversity officer, Lorraine Bull, has highlighted the growing interest among the public in aiding the movement of animals post-pandemic. People are now actively involved in creating hedgehog corridors, highway crossings, and badger access points. These initiatives involve opening up fences and creating pathways that allow animals to roam freely between gardens. Community groups are collaborating with local councils to create spaces for animals to move, and this concept is even being considered in the planning and construction of housing estates.
The decline in hedgehog populations has been observed in studies conducted in Britain and Europe. While there is no official estimate for hedgehog numbers in Ireland, ongoing biodiversity surveys, such as the national hedgehog surveys, are being conducted to track statistics. It is believed that there are approximately 1 million hedgehogs in Ireland. To address this decline, Irish Fencing Services, a company based in Dublin and Cork, is now installing hedgehog doors in all their fences and railings. They are also encouraging the public to request these doors when purchasing fences from any supplier nationwide.
Terry Hobdell, the owner of Irish Fencing Services, explains that hedgehogs have established walking routes that are often blocked by solid fences, hindering their movement. Inspired by a similar initiative in the UK, Irish Fencing Services aims to promote the installation of hedgehog doors in fences across the country. They are urging other fencing companies to follow suit and encouraging the public to participate. Hobdell believes that children, in particular, will enjoy having a hedgehog door in their fences. He emphasizes that the concept is straightforward and does not require a patent; the goal is simply to raise awareness and support for the campaign. Hobdell also suggests that builders should consider incorporating hedgehog doors into their housing estate designs.
Wildlife rescuers throughout Ireland have expressed their support for this initiative. Bev Truss, a veterinary nurse who operates the Hogsprickle Wildlife Carers rehabilitation unit in Ennis, Co Clare, explains that hedgehogs need to travel long distances at night in search of food. These animals move from garden to garden, and the presence of solid fences can impede their movement. Yvonne McCann, another veterinary nurse who runs Hedgehog Rescue Dublin, has also shown her support for the campaign, describing it as “great news for hedgehogs” on her Facebook page.
The efforts to create hedgehog corridors and provide access points for other animals reflect a growing concern for wildlife conservation in Ireland. By opening up fences and establishing pathways, the public is actively contributing to the preservation of biodiversity. The installation of hedgehog doors in fences is a simple yet impactful way to ensure that these animals can freely navigate their surroundings and continue to thrive in urban environments. With the support of fencing companies, builders, and the general public, it is hoped that this campaign will make a significant difference in the protection of hedgehogs and other wildlife species in Ireland.