The Challenges Faced by Urban Wildlife

It is no secret that animals have had to adapt in order to survive in an ever changing environment. However, the human induced changes seem to always be the most challenging ones. Yet, we humans seem to think that we have the right to feel victimised when the way in which animals adapt to our changes affect our lives.

Take pigeons for instance. Humans love complaining about pigeons. It is not uncommon for a human to react to the simple mention of a pigeon by saying something on the lines of ‘I hate pigeons! Bloody flying rats!’. However, considering we have pretty much invaded their territory and permanently changed it, I would argue that they are simply making the most of it. It appears that, similarly to actual rats, the urban life-style suits them just fine.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about many other animals. Hedgehogs have a hard time adapting to urbanisation. Small things such as fenced gardens significantly limit their ‘hunting’ area. Let’s not even mention how difficult competition with other urban wildlife can be.

My brother recently found a hedgehog hobbling along the pavement in broad daylight. Knowing that seeing a hedgehog in broad daylight is never a good sign, he approached the hedgehog for a closer inspection. He then noticed that not only was the hedgehog quite disoriented but it also seemed to be weak and injured.  He contacted the PACT Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk and they arranged for him to drop the little hedgehog off with someone who would then drive it to the Sanctuary. PACT immediately took the little hedgehog to the vet and it received the treatment that it so desperately needed. You will be happy to know that the little guy is running around the floor and doing really well. It was put on a course of antibiotics and vitamins and will be released back in the wild when it is fully healed.  

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It astounds me how little the majority of people know about wildlife in the area where they live. Now, I don’t expect people to know the physiology of all these animals. I simply would expect them to be able to a) identify a hedgehog, b) know that it is nocturnal and c) appreciate that it is a shy creature. As I have mentioned before, seeing a hedgehog in broad daylight is never a good sign. It saddens me to think of the amount of hedgehogs that could have been saved if the people walking past them understood the implications of seeing a hedgehog in broad daylight that is not trying to hide or curl up in a ball.

This makes me greatly appreciate the work and dedication of animal sanctuaries and rescues. Their work is crucial to these animals and they most definitely should receive more support from all of us!

In honour of the little hedgehog, I would like to once again highlight the amazing work that PACT Animal Sanctuary do and ask you to support them however you can. Check out their website and if you can afford it, adopt an animal or donate to their cause. They have an admirable no kill policy and take in any kind of animal. In case of emergencies, please contact them on 01362 820 775.

I would also like to say how proud I am of my little brother. I know you were late for an appointment but very few people understand compassion like you do. You are an amazing person and I love you very much.