The mobile App that helps Cornish hedgehogs

Wednesday 2nd May 2018

Hedgehog by Martin Yelland

An exciting new mobile app has just been launched that will make recording Cornish wildlife quick easy and fun. The ORKS App, created by ERCCIS; Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s wildlife records centre allows you to record wildlife sightings whilst out and about, even if you don’t have WIFI or mobile data. The App prompts you for the essential information needed, and uses GPS for location and allows you to add photos to upload to the ORKS website [www.orks.org.uk] when you are ready. It is so simple and it is ready just in time for National Hedgehog Week which runs from the 6th to 12th May.

When we think of British wildlife, one prickly creature comes to mind for many of us; the European Hedgehog. Hedgehogs are much loved and valued symbol of the British natural heritage and were voted Britain’s favourite mammal in 2016. They were once a common part of the UK landscape but recent have seen a shocking decline in their population. Cornwall Wildlife Trust and ERCCIS are looking for enthusiastic citizen scientists to help our Cornish hedgehogs by telling them when and where hedgehogs are being seen across Cornwall. The ORKS App and website is the ideal way to do this.

A report recently published ‘The State of Britain’s Hedgehog 2018’ shows almost half of rural populations have disappeared in 15 years, and urban populations have declined by almost a quarter. Hedgehogs are facing increasing pressure from habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change and fatalities caused by road traffic and other human activities.

‘Operation Hedgehog’, set up by the Cornwall Biodiversity Initiative and coordinated by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, aims to raise awareness of the decline in hedgehogs, to get citizen scientists involved to help better understand the status of hedgehogs in Cornwall and encouraging local people to create better habitats for hedgehogs in their garden. Sightings submitted to the ORKS website and the App feed into Operation Hedgehog, providing vital information to help protect our prickly friends.

Niki Clear, Data Officer from ERCCIS says,

“Being a largely rural community here in Cornwall, it is shocking to think we could have lost such a large proportion of our Cornish hedgehogs. Having a deeper understanding of the status of hedgehogs in Cornwall is key to conserving the species, and sighting records are essential part of this. ERCCIS is working to make it as easy as possible for people to submit sightings of hedgehog and any other wildlife in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. And we believe the launch of the ORKS App is a great step forward to achieving this. We endeavour to make sure these records count and are put to good use to help save our wildlife”

How you can help Cornish Hedgehogs

Tell Us What You See
The Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (ERCCIS) has launched a new mobile App to help make it quicker and easier for you to share your hedgehog sighting, and any other wildlife sighting! The App allows you to quickly and easily note when and where you’ve seen a hedgehog and send this information into ERCCIS where it can be used for conservation and research.
Make your sighting count and download the new ORKS App on Google Play or iTunes

Make your garden hedgehog-friendly
There are many ways you can have a hedgehog haven in your garden, here are a few ideas and you can find out about more by contacting Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Information Service on wis@cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk / 01872 302250

• Make small holes in your garden fence, about the size of a CD to allow hedgehogs to roam
• Did you know that hedgehogs are lactose intolerant? Never give hedgehogs milk as this will make them ill. Instead, put out hedgehog-friendly food such as mealworms, tinned dog or cat food, minced meat or specifically made hedgehog food.
• Create escape ramps in your garden pond and cover any open holes or drains
• Create a hog-hibernation-hotel in the corner of your garden out of twigs and leaves
• Check before you strim or burn! Make sure there are no hedgehogs in your bonfire before you light it, and any areas you’re planning on strimming.
• Put a wildlife cam in your garden and watch who is visiting without causing any disturbance.

Join the Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Cornwall Wildlife Trust works hard to protect Cornwall’s wildlife and wild places. Becoming a member supports their vital work and helps to make a real difference. Secure the future of your local wildlife- join Cornwall Wildlife Trust today!