With both Halloween and Bonfire Night rapidly approaching, animal rescue charity Wadars is joining other organisations in urging people to check bonfires before lighting them.
Every year, hedgehogs are seriously injured or killed after curling up to sleep in bonfires.
Wadars animal rescue officer Elaine Sinclair said; “When you do check the bonfire for hedgehogs or other small animals or even pets, please do so gently, using some kind of pole rather than a sharp object such as a spade or fork as it’s very easy to accidentally injure them.
“If you find anything hiding in the pile, then always try to lift a section out which you can then move away to a safe distance from the bonfire.”
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society has created a number of posters reminding people to check bonfires for hedgehogs and other small creatures and where possible, to build them on the same day of lighting.
The posters can be downloaded from the BHPS website.
Meanwhile, work to develop an old barn at the Wadars site into a small wildlife unit is now well underway, and staff at the charity are hoping to have it operational within a few weeks.
Wadars Operations Manager Tracy Cadman said; “Since launching Hogtober and appealing for people to become our new volunteer wildlife officers we have had more than 40 enquiries.
“We have a wide range of potential helpers and look forward to getting them trained up ready to work in the unit.”
Wadars is appealing for donations of hedgehog food and also financial support to help fund the cost of the creation of the unit and caring for the wildlife that it will be caring for.
Food donations could include meat-based wet dog or cat food as well as specialised hedgehog food. Cat biscuits are also good for their diet and teeth. Food donations can either be delivered to Wadars in Hangleton Lane, Ferring, or Haskins Garden Centre.Anyone wishing to donate funds towards the running of the wildlife unit can do so at www.wadars.co.uk or by sending a cheque made payable to Wadars, Hangleton Lane, Ferring, BN12 6PP.