HEDGEHOGS are continuing to decline in the UK, according to a new report.
Surveys by citizen scientists show hedgehog numbers have fallen by about 50% since the turn of the century.
Conservation groups say they are particularly concerned about the plight of the prickly creatures in rural areas.
Figures suggest the animals are disappearing more rapidly in the countryside, as hedgerows and field margins are lost to intensive farming.
But there are signs that populations in urban areas may be recovering.
David Wembridge, surveys officer for the conservation charity, People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), said two surveys of the number of hedgehogs in gardens and one of numbers killed on roads show an overall decline.
But he said there is “a glimmer of hope” that measures to create habitat for hedgehogs in urban areas are paying off.
“Numbers haven’t recovered yet but in urban areas at least there’s an indication that numbers appear to have levelled in the last four years,” he said.
In rural areas, the number of hedgehogs killed on roads has fallen by between a third and a half across Great Britain, The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018 report found.
Emily Wilson, Hedgehog Officer for the campaign group, Hedgehog Street, said the apparent decline in the rural population of hedgehogs was “really concerning”