Every year hundreds of hedgehogs are injured, maimed & killed in gardens.
We need you to help us change this situation.
Our gardens should and can be a safe haven for hedgehogs & with a little forethought they can be.
(see bottom of this page for manufacturer responses to our Strimmer Awareness Campaign)
UPDATE OCTOBER 2015
We have now launched a second phase working with local authorities.
More details Working Together to Safeguard Hedgehogs
Willows Hedgehog Rescue
Radio Interview with BBC Hereford & Worcester May 2015
We understand that the garden strimmer is a popular tool and that it isn't possible to stop people using them but we do need awareness of the dangers that the use of these popular tools pose.
Hedgehogs are in serious decline in the UK with present population estimates of less than one million hedgehogs where in the 1950's the estimates put the numbers at around 36 million.
It is very important that we work to stop and reverse this decline and the number of hedgehogs seriously injured or killed through gardening injuries does not help the situation.
The solution to avoiding these unnecessary injuries is as simple as checking before you work in the garden. A few minutes checking the garden edges, in long grass and under shrubs before using the mower or strimmer can save a hedgehog from serious injury or death.
Below are examples of the injuries sustained by hedgehogs through strimmer use. Large areas of soft tissue loss, all soft tissue lost from the head, limbs lost and severe and unrecoverable laceration.
The images above of hedgehogs admitted here at Willows Hedgehog Rescue are distressing for you to see... however not nearly as distressing as for the animals that have sustained those injuries.
What are we doing to try to stop these injuries from happening?
We try to raise awareness through this website and social media through highlighting admissions that come into us and through producing awareness materials. We have contacted and spoken to local authorities asking them to take wildlife into account when maintaining grass verges and green spaces. We also work to obtain press coverage. We are now also contacting the manufacturers and suppliers of gardening equipment directly.
Below is part of an awareness communication that we are in the process of sending to all manufacturers of strimmers. We will update this page with responses or lack of from individual manufacturers.
What can you do to help?
Obviously we need to you to be aware of this issue and check before you work in the garden but also please speak to friends, neighbours, anyone you know in gardening groups etc to pass the message on.
Simply taking a few minutes to check before gardening can make a massive difference. Tapping a hedgehog with a hand, foot or stick while checking is going to annoy a hedgehog a little but it certainly isn't going to inflict life threatening injuries.
Other things that you can do to help spread awareness.
We raise awareness through this website and social media so sharing information that we post helps us to reach more people.
I have included a leaflet / poster here that you can share or print off. If you can get it onto a groups notice board or local garden centre then this would be of great help in spreading the message further.
Finally I have included a suggested text that we would be very grateful if you could use to contact manufactures via their email or on line contact forms helping to add your voice to ours. Hopefully with many voices strimmer manufacturers will listen and make small changes that could help save a lot of hedgehogs from pain, injury or death.
Manufacturer & Retailer responses so far
STIHL GB (Andreas Stihl Ltd) Stilh GB
STIHL were the first manufacturer to respond indicating that they would pass our request onto the relevant departments. Within a few hours we have received a direct response to our request with STIHL GB offering to do the following:
- To promote awareness both through their Facebook and Twitter pages with links to Willows Hedgehog Rescue awareness.
- To put a notice on the STIHL GB website.
- To include information in the STIHL GB seasonal catalogue.
STIHL have also informed us that they take 'the topic of wildlife preservation very seriously and appreciate you bringing this issue to the forefront'. They also encourage all their UK dealers to promote wildlife awareness and to check before working.
Our thanks to Rebecca from STIHL GB and we would love to work with you to help reduce injuries to hedgehogs and all wildlife.
UPDATE Stihl have since speaking to us been helping to raise awareness through both their Twitter and Facebook pages. Our thanks to Stihl GB for helping the UK's wildlife.
Makita UK Makita UK Ltd
Makita UK are the second manufacturer to respond to our contact. Sadly Makita feel unable to help beyond wishing us well.
They have pointed out that all of their products are manufactured abroad and come into the UK in sealed pallets which excludes them from any input into labeling etc.
They have suggested that we contact retailers of the products, local authorities and gardening companies directly to raise awareness.
Update August 2015
Kevin Brannigan of Makita has contacted us as after not being able to help with our original request tried to think of other ways that Makita could help.
The decision taken to include awareness in the newsletter sent out to over 40,000 recipients and to include awareness in their most recent garden machinery brochure.
Our thanks to Kevin and Makita UK
Husqvarna Group Husqvarna
Husqvarna are the third manufacturer to respond to our contact. They own a number of brands including Flymo.
They have responded detailing that it is the users responsibility to use the equipment safely. They have pointed out that they include wildlife awareness in their operator manuals the extent of which is displayed below!
Husqvarna Group have said that they have forwarded our email to their head office in Sweden for further consideration.
Bosch UK Bosch UK
Bosch UK are the fourth manufacturer to respond to our contact. They have responded with a formal letter included below and are offering to raise awareness through their social media presence.
UPDATE Bosch DIY UK are now helping us to raise awareness through Twitter and Facebook. We would like to thank Bosch for their help in saving wildlife.
Please help us to make a positive change for our native and iconic hedgehog
Charlie Willows Hedgehog Rescue 2015