Protect hedgehogs by building bonfires later, says charity

An animal charity has urged people to only build bonfires on the day they light them to avoid killing hedgehogs.

The Ludlow-based British Hedgehog Preservation Society has issued the plea ahead of Guy Fawkes Night on November 5, with people expected to have bonfires at home due to large events being cancelled.

Fay Vass, chief executive of the charity, said: “With people missing their annual trip to large events marking bonfire night, we fear they may decide to build a bonfire at home instead. Many small bonfires in back gardens, which are a stronghold for hedgehogs, is even more concerning than the usual huge fires held in the middle of a field.”

To save hedgehogs and other wildlife from appalling suffering, the BHPS urges that bonfires should not be built until the day they are to be lit. This will not only save wildlife from burning to death but will also stop the bonfire from getting soaked should it rain the night before.

Fay added: “If material is stored on open ground in advance of having a bonfire, it’s crucial to dismantle it and move it to another spot just before lighting. Ensure it’s moved to clear ground - never on top of a pile of leaves as there could be a hedgehog underneath, and not too close to pampas grass which can ignite very easily and is another favourite spot for hedgehogs to hide under."

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