The closure of a Poulton hedgehog rescue centre is stretching other services in the region.
He currently has more than 40 hedgehogs in his care – costing up to £10 per day.
It’s getting to a pretty critical stage, we’re down to the last 10 tins of dog food and there’s not a lot left in the vet’s account
“Since the Trust in Poulton’s gone due to ill health, there’s now only us and one other centre in Rochdale covering the whole of the north west”, he said. “We get about 10 phone calls a day from all over Lancashire, Skipton, Fleetwood, St Annes, Manchester, the Wirral.”
Because he’s not set his centre up as a charity, Steve is unable to take cash donations and is currently funding the work from his own pocket, save for a small number of donations to his account at a local pet shop and vets.
He said: “It’s getting to a pretty critical stage, we’re down to the last 10 tins of dog food and there’s not a lot left in the vet’s account.
“Last week we had two injured hedgehogs operated on and it cost £300. But every hedgehog is so important now, we need to look after them.
“They’re an endangered species – more rare than the tiger – with less than one million left.
“In the last two to three decades, the number has fallen from 20 million. People are totally unaware that this species is on a knife-edge.”
Steve puts the decline down to the development of green spaces and viruses.
The lungworm virus, picked up from slugs, kills 50 per cent of hedgehogs that go to the centre, and an avian parasite from birds is also reducing numbers.
Steve is also working with a vets and zoological society to do research into pneumonia, which has killed many hedgehogs in his care.
He is now calling for hedgehog fosterers, but volunteers need some veterinary or animal knowledge because they’re not easy to keep and over the winter months need heated accommodation.
He would also like help setting up a website, volunteers to help drive injured animals to his centre from the Fylde, Chorley and Lancaster areas, and people to sponsor him.
Anyone willing to help is asked to contact Steve on 07970187935 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who finds an injured hedgehog is asked to contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801.