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Leyton Marsh’s elusive inhabitants caught on camera

Cameras dotted around Leyton Marshes are successfully capturing the area’s elusive – and adorable – inhabitants. The Lee Valley Regional Park […]By Waltham Forest Echo

Cameras dotted around Leyton Marshes are successfully capturing the area’s elusive – and adorable – inhabitants.

The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA), which runs the marshes, hopes to use the footage to reliably estimate its hedgehog population.

Working with the London HogWatch project and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, it wants to find and study where hedgehogs live in order to better support them.

Hedgehogs need well-connected green spaces to survive as they can roam around two kilometres each night. Their numbers have declined markedly across England since 2000.

A spokesperson for the park authority said: “The project will aim to raise awareness of hedgehogs in the Lee Valley and look at further enhancements that can take place.

“[These enhancements could] improve sites for hedgehogs and create links in and out of the park to the surrounding areas to make the existing population as robust as possible.”

Hedgehogs are most active in the middle of the night but can be seen when it gets dark, particularly during summer as they hibernate in colder months.

The protection of the park’s hedgehogs became a point of contention last year, as campaigners argued the planned rebuild of the Lee Valley Ice Centre would put them at risk. 

The LVRPA was given planning permission by Waltham Forest Council to almost double the size of the centre on 6th October last year, saying it was worn out and would have to close if not rebuilt.


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However, campaign group Save Lea Marshes previously insisted the expansion will “destroy an important wildlife corridor” for animals like hedgehogs.

The LVRPA spokesperson said the new centre, currently under construction, is fully surrounded by hoarding “to ensure that no hedgehogs or other animals can access the site” and will “provide an enhanced habitat” for them once completed.

They said: “[Places to hibernate] have been installed in the adjacent woodland and in the surrounding area in the form of log piles and hedgehog boxes. 

“Wetland features will be created that will provide good access to water for hedgehogs and other creatures and the sowing of wildflower meadows should increase the insect populations which in turn will provide a greater source of food for hedgehogs.”

Local residents with gardens can also help the borough’s hedgehogs by creating small holes, measuring 13cm square, to let them pass through on their nightly walks.

Hedgehogs also eat slugs and other garden pests so residents are asked to avoid using pellets or other chemical pest killers so they aren’t ingested.

For information on hedgehog conservation visit https://ptes.org/campaigns/hedgehogs/ or join the campaign to make your street a ‘Hedgehog Street’ https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/

For information on the London HogWatch project visit https://www.zsl.org/conservation/species/mammals/london-hogwatch


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