Hedgehog rescue centre is inundated with new arrivals
A HEDGEHOG rescue centre in Chipping Sodbury which stayed open during lockdown has had calls for help from as far away as Wales and Somerset.
The number of animals coming in to Hedgehog Rescue Chipping Sodbury has increased as some rescue centres have had to close due to the impact of the pandemic on their volunteers and finances.
Tracey Boden, who runs the independent centre, has been a nurse for 22 years. She is currently employed by the Gloucestershire Healthcare Trust supporting young people with young onset dementia across the county, and has worked full time throughout lockdown.
Tracey said: “I was getting even more calls than normal but I did stay open despite working full time. I struggled with limited help from volunteers to start with as many of them were shielding.
“Hogs have been coming in at a rate of knots. I normally have an average of between 40-50. I’ve even had them come in from as far away as Cardiff, Newport and Bristol, and someone phoned from Taunton the other day.”
Tracey (above) now has seven volunteer helpers, but she pays the bills from her own wages. She needs donations, either money to help pay vets' medicine bills, or of food, which is brand-specific and includes Royal Canin baby dog milk powder and dried kitten kibble.
One of Tracey's most recent arrivals came in on August 12 from nearby Frampton Cotterell, after being rescued by firefighters from a drain. It took over two hours of drilling cutting and digging to free the hedgehog in sweltering heat, and Tracey had to give the animal a fluid injection after it became dehydrated. The hedgehog, named Smudge, is now recovering at the centre.
Hedgehogs are also often injured by garden strimmers or poisoned by slug pellets or rat poison. A diet of slugs and snails can lead to internal parasites like lung worm which make hedgehogs unwell.
Tracey said: “Some of the biggest issues for hedgehogs are gardening injuries and people not putting out supplementary food and water, as well as a lack of access into other gardens via 'hedgehog highways'."
Tracey keeps going because she finds it so rewarding.
She said: “I think it’s because I get nurtured and soothed from doing it. The hedgehogs provide me with some distraction from the impact of the job.”
Anyone who would like to donate, especially food items, should contact Tracey through her website, www.hedgehogrescuechippingsodbury.co.uk.