Wild hedgehogs surviving in central London Royal Parks
Wild hedgehogs surviving in central London Royal Parks

Researchers have discovered the last 50 wild hedgehogs living in central London’s Royal Parks.

In the 1970s hedgehogs were living in all five of the capital’s Royal Parks, but numbers have rapidly declined and now they only survive Regent’s Park.

Wildlife scientists, London Zoo workers and a team of volunteers conducted the study into the prickly-coated creatures in a bid to find better ways to conserve the small population.

They found the hedgehogs were predominately foraging in grassland, shrubberies and hedges travelling up to 1.5km at night – the distance between Regent’s Park and Angel.

It also found they tend to eat a feast of insects including slugs, caterpillars and beetles.

The hedgehog survey, which was filmed by BBC’s Springwatch, will help form a habitat management programme to protect the mammals.

Sara Lom, chief executive of the Royal Parks Foundation, said: “One of the important aims of the project is to educate the park users about the resident hedgehog population so that they will help protect and support them in future.”

Dr Nigel Reeve, leading hedgehog expert, said: “Thanks to the exceptional efforts of all those involved, the data we have gathered this May will provide crucial detail about the behaviour of hedgehogs in the park.