Vulnerable hedgehogs have found a refuge in the woodland and hedgerows of the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
Experts released 23 of the rescued animals in the park to boost the species chances of survival as part of a conservation project.
Hedgehog numbers are declining rapidly in the UK and have dipped from 36.5 million 60 years ago to little over a million today due to the combined threat of urbanisation, intensified agriculture and changes in the way we keep our gardens.
The park, at Branton, near Doncaster was chosen for its track record in animal conservation and YWP Animal Collection Manager Simon Marsh said:”Many people don’t realise that hedgehogs are fast becoming at risk.
“YWP has a track record of many successful campaigns to save endangered species and we are very proud to have worked with a number of conservation programmes that have been crucial to the survival of certain breeds. We can all help our local wildlife by thinking about what we do with our gardens. By creating a wildlife friendly area with wild flowers, long grass, a log pile and a small pond you will have your very own wildlife park in your back garden.
“With an estimated 16 million gardens in the UK if we all made a space for wildlife it would be one of the biggest nature networks in the world”
The hedgehogs had been rescued by Sharon Wilson who has been collaborating with Lorraine Jackson, who runs the Hedgehog Hospital in Hull, to protect sick, injured and young animals. If you find a hedgehog please contact the Hull Animal Welfare Trust on 01430 423986 for advice
YWP, which is home to a variety of endangered wildlife, gave the hedgehogs a new home as it has perfect, natural habitats for hedgehogs and other UK wildlife. With an additional 200 acres YWP is home to many native species including barn owl, roe deer and water voles as well as their unique animal collections including the most exotic leopards, lions, tigers and polar bears.