Creature Candy has just donated over £300 to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, as a result of our customers and stockists support. On behalf of PTES we’d like to say a big thank you, as this money goes towards important research and conservation efforts to help stop the decline of many of our wild animals.
Creature Candy donates 10% of every sale of its hedgehog, dormouse and mountain hare products to PTES, so we’d like to tell you more about why this money is important and how it is used.
The hedgehog population is rapidly declining. A few years ago, the PTES mammal surveys revealed that since 2000, hedgehogs in Britain were declining at the same rate as tigers worldwide. In our countryside hedgehogs are losing precious hedgerows, field margins and woodlands. Intensive farming methods and pesticides used destroy hedgehogs’ natural habitat and kill off the insects they eat. In cities and towns gardens are increasingly fenced off and driveways paved over - hedgehogs struggle to get from garden to garden to find food and mates, and face increasingly busy and dangerous roads.
PTES are carrying out lots of research, practical action and raising awareness to help hedgehogs. They run Hedgehog Street, with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, which encourages the public to become hedgehog champions, make hedgehog holes in their gardens and create hedgehog friendly neighbourhoods. They now have over 60,000 hedgehog champions.
PTES are carrying out research to understand the decline of both urban and rural hedgehogs. They are looking at new ways to survey hedgehogs, seeing if they use road tunnels to cross roads, what their relationship is with badgers, how farming and farming practices are affecting them, and which hedgehog houses they might prefer. They are also working with farmers so they can make their land more hedgehog friendly, and working with developers to encourage them to make new housing developments more friendly for hedgehogs.
Find out more about hedgehog research here.
Hazel dormice were once common, but now they’re hanging on mostly in the southern parts of England and Wales. But changes in woodland management, farming practices, loss of hedgerows and the fragmentation of woodland have all taken a heavy toll on their living space.
The PTES dormouse campaign has three main elements:
Their nationwide monitoring scheme keeps a close eye on how dormice are doing. They have over 25 years of records painstakingly collected by hundreds of volunteer monitors that guide our actions to save dormice.
Their reintroduction programme has so far covered 12 counties at 22 sites. They have reintroduced over 900 dormice over the years back to areas where they had become extinct. They regularly check how they are faring and how far they’ve spread and advise on dormouse-friendly land management.
It is so important to manage woodlands and hedgerows appropriately, so PTES provide training and guides for woodland managers and others looking after the land.
The Peak District mountain hares depend on healthy moorland: thriving on a diet of heather and grasses and seeking cover amongst deeper vegetation and rocks. They live in an isolated vulnerable population. Direct threats to them include heavy traffic on several major trunk roads, hunting and persecution. The busy road system that bisects the moors may act as a barrier to dispersal and small scale gene flow. Climate change is also a threat - increasing fire risk; wetter autumns can create feeding and shelter challenges for young leverets; severe winters can bring about a thaw-freeze, where a layer of snow can freeze solid, making it difficult for a hare to dig through to find food.
PTES are establishing an in-depth study to understand the sustainability of the present group of mountain hares in the Peak District. It’s hard to estimate the numbers of hares: they tend to lie low under deep vegetation. So they are assembling a new, novel combination of techniques, including line transect observational surveys, deployment of remote cameras and a drone camera. These methods also provide a good opportunity to evaluate hare and habitat associations and the effects of human infrastructure.
Genetic material will be obtained either from material such as dung samples or carcasses. This data will then be used to construct demographic models (including for example hare hotspot maps) for investigating how the mountain hare population may respond to changes in land-use, levels of persecution, interaction with brown hares, and also considering different climate change scenarios within the Park. The results of these demographic models will help to provide advice on protecting the existing present population, whilst identifying which are the most important population parameters to be prioritised for future hare reintroductions and population supplementations.