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Solving a prickly problem


Animal lover Kirsten Kennedy is devoting her spare time to rescuing sick and injured hedgehogs —- with positive results.

Mrs Kennedy (41) of Loughbon, Orston, has rehabilitated and released hundreds of the animals in the last few years.

“Some, unfortunately, cannot be saved, but the success rate is high,” she says.

Mrs Kennedy used to work at an animal rescue centre.

“There were plenty of times when I took my work home with me. This included wildlife such as fledglings, squirrels and hedgehogs.

“I developed an affinity for hedgehogs and they just kept on coming.”

She set up Orston Hedgehog Rescue seven years ago at her home.

She is registered with local vets, animal welfare centres and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Mrs Kennedy says: “Winter is always a busy period for me with an influx of young autumn orphans who do not have the necessary fat reserves to survive the winter.

“All of them need worming and a lot of them also need veterinary care.

“Members of the public call me because they are concerned about a hedgehog. If they find it out in daytime or injured, it implies that something is wrong.

“A lot of hedgehogs have external or internal parasites which I can determine by microscopic examination.”

A hedgehog found in Plumtree Churchyard before Christmas is now ready for release and the parish council has agreed to meet the £30 cost of a nesting box to be placed in the churchyard.

Mrs Kennedy says that ideally hedgehogs should be released near to where they were found so they are in familiar territory.

She says: “Hedgehogs form a significant part of our eco-system and their numbers have dwindled to the point where they are now on the wildlife endangered list, so I believe everything should be done to protect these wonderful creatures.”

The eight other hedgehogs in her care were found in various parts of the county including Bingham, Radcliffe, Fiskerton and Bleasby.

“I have to get them up to a sufficient weight as they need to be healthy, especially in the winter months, before they can be released,” she says.

Mrs Kennedy has a full time job as a sales assistant and has to devote her time to the hedgehogs before and after work.

“I feed and clean them very early in the morning and then when I get back in the evening.

“My husband Tim also helps and although it takes up a lot of time it is worthwhile.”

She says if somebody is worried about a hedgehog, or the hedgehog is out in daytime, they should pick it up, put it in a high-sided cardboard box with newspaper and a dish of water and cat food.

Mrs Kennedy can be contacted on 01949 851532.

Donations, including indoor rabbit cages/hutches, cat food and old towels are always needed.

Mrs Kennedy says if people want to attract hedgehogs into their gardens then they can put out some cat food and a shallow dish of fresh water.

For more information people can look at St Tiggywinkles website www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk or the BHPS www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk

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