Zoo car park hedgehogs defy HS2 with litter of 17 babies
Threatened colony doubles in size before construction lorries roll into historic habitat
05 January, 2018 — By Tom Foot
One of the rare breeding hedgehogs
HEDGEHOGS have launched a fightback against the High Speed 2 project that is threatening to drive them out of their historic home, with a litter of 17 new babies.
A report has revealed that the last known colony of breeding hedgehogs in London – living in the London Zoo car park – has “bred successfully”.
There are fears that HS2, the £57billion railway to Birmingham, will drive them to their deaths in the surrounding roads when the lorries take over the space later this year.
However 17 baby hedgehogs have been counted according to a recent nocturnal survey.
Nick Biddle, Regent’s Park manager, said: “Of the 36 animals found in September about 17 were juveniles, thought to have been born in the year, which is extremely encouraging. The population overall remains small and extremely vulnerable.”
It was feared that the threatened colony would be driven out of its historic home by HS2, which has sequestered the car park to use as a depot for its construction lorries. The zoo has repeatedly warned that HS2 seizing the car park for its lorries was “threatening the survival of the group” and had given evidence in the House of Commons and House of Lords select committees about saving the colony.
In October zoological director David Field told the Extra that dead hedgehogs would start showing up around the periphery of the car park after the lorries moved in. It is not known why the hedgehogs have chosen the car park, rather than the park itself, as a historic home. They are believed to have been there for decades, perhaps stretching back to before the zoo and its car park existed.
HS2 has said that it is working with the Royal Parks and London Zoo to create “wildlife corridors” around the car park and nest boxes “to protect local wildlife while the lorry holding area is in use”.