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Recent studies have shown that hedgehog numbers are in decline, particularly in rural areas. The animals are currently protected under Schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which makes it an offence for them to be killed or taken by certain methods.

E-petition 550379, ‘Protect the UK’s dwindling hedgehog population before it’s too late’, received 108,327 signatures before it closed on 1 April 2021. It calls on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection, stating that the change would give greater protection and hopefully help their numbers recover.

The Government has stated that there are currently no plans to give hedgehogs further legal protection. However, an evidence-based review of Schedule 5 of the Act is being carried out by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Government will consider any recommendations arising from this.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society support the petition and have worked with the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species to raise awareness about the decline of hedgehogs.

The topic will be debated on Monday 5 July in Westminster Hall.

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