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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

IAR celebrates relocation of one thousand Uist hedgehogs

HedgehogThe Uist Hedgehog Rescue (UHR)¹ coalition, of which IAR is a founding member, is celebrating the relocation of more than 1,000 hedgehogs from the Uists and their release into new territories on the mainland. The coalition has been relocating hedgehogs from the Outer Hebridean islands every year since 2003 and has already relocated more than 100 hedgehogs since they came out of hibernation this spring.

The animals are being removed from the islands because they eat the eggs of ground nesting wading birds from populations that are of international importance. Prior to 2007 UHR rescued hedgehogs which would otherwise have been culled. However since 2007 the coalition has been working with the Uist Wader Project (UWP)², which is handing over all the hedgehogs it catches to be taken to Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust on the mainland and then released into suitable sites in Scotland. This spring UWP is catching hedgehogs from mid-March until the end of May and catching may resume in the autumn. Alan Knight, CEO of International Animal Rescue, said: "It’s wonderful to celebrate our one thousandth hedgehog relocated from the Uists and released on the mainland. All hedgehogs are carefully monitored, health-checked and tagged before being released into appropriate sites.

"For the last two years we have been pleased to have a productive working relationship with UWP, which is handing over to us all the hedgehogs it catches. However, relocating these animals costs money. We hope that government funds will be made available to allow us to continue removing hedgehogs which should benefit the important breeding populations of wading birds on the Uists."

David Maclennan, the UWP chairman, said: "We will be reviewing the success of the project to date and will make recommendations for future activity later in the year. These will take account of the costs of translocation of the hedgehogs."

1. UHR consists of Advocates for Animals, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust and International Animal Rescue. For more information see www.uhr.org.uk

2. Uist Wader Project (UWP) is a partnership including SNH, the Scottish Governement and RSPB Scotland. For more information see www.snh.org.uk/scottish/wisles/waders