For the first time ever, the United Kingdom’s cherished hedgehogs have been added to the endangered species list, with an estimated 98% decline in their population. This time of year, the animals go into hibernation, bedding down into bushes and woodlands, at risk from wild animals and humans. To raise awareness of the struggle, as well as creating a safe environment for the creatures to hibernate in peace, one resort has announced the world’s first hedgehog holiday park, complete with caravan homes with double-glazed windows and some handsome decking.

What started as a local initiative at Parkdean Resorts’ White Cross Bay park in the Lake District has been expanded as a message to bring hope for hedgehog lovers. The resort built a custom miniature holiday park where animals can relax safely and undisturbed. It is also encouraging the public to educate themselves on how they can help hedgehogs by taking steps such as creating their own hibernation hotels, making ponds safe with ramps for them to climb out, refraining from using slug pellets and harmful pesticides and checking long grass before mowing it. 

"Hedgehogs becoming endangered is a massive blow for UK wildlife and wildlife lovers. We wanted to do something big and bold to grab the nation's attention and encourage everyone to play their part in helping protect them from extinction. And what's more eye-catching than a miniature holiday park, designed and built especially for hedgehogs? We hope this world's first will inspire people to support our prickly pals at their most vulnerable time of year," Catherine Lynn, chief customer officer at Parkdean Resorts said.

The park has safe houses with double-glazed windows for the animals to sleep in © Parkdean Resorts

“Bonfires are usually fairly dry at the centre which, for a hedgehog looking for a warm, dry and sheltered spot, can seem like ideal places to nest. It’s therefore very important to make sure there are no hedgehogs hiding in a bonfire before it is lit. The best way to do this is by moving it on the day of lighting,” Katy South, co-founder of Prickles and Paws, a rescue and rehabilitation centre for hedgehogs added.

As a defence mechanism, hedgehogs curl up into a tight ball without moving. It’s therefore important to move a bonfire on the day of lighting, allowing you to spot and carefully move any animal that may be hiding at the centre. It’s also good practice to light a bonfire from one side after moving it, as this will leave safe exits to allow any other wildlife to escape in plenty of time.

More helpful information on how to support hedgehogs in the wild can be found at the Parkdean Resort’s page.

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