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Prickly Friends Head For The Stars

June 18, 2001 10:40: A HOST of Hayes hedgehogs are set for stardom as the faces of a national campaign run by a wildlife charity.

Little creatures from Mavis Reghini's sanctuary, Prickles Hedgehog Haven, in Pickhurst Lane, have been chosen by the Mammals Trust for the launch of a national survey.

The trust is asking volunteers to count the number of squashed hedgehogs they see on their travels to build up a picture of the country's hedgehog habitat and population.

Mrs Reghini is confident her prickly patients will rise to the occasion when she takes them to the photo shoot in Battersea, London.

"They will just love it, especially little Hollingbourne Flax, who was named after where he was found.

"He really loves the limelight and is a real attention-seeker.

"I've got 31 hedgehogs here at the moment with all kinds of injuries from road accidents to garden mishaps.

"I make sure they are kept warm, clean and well fed.

"You would be surprised just how much these little chaps get through."

Prickles was the name of one of Mrs Reghini's first rescues.

After becoming interested in hedgehog welfare in the mid-1980s, a colleague at Raglan School, Raglan Road, Bromley, where she still works, one day brought in five for her to look after.

She gives at least two talks a week on her work and is urging people to get involved in the trust's National Hedgehog Survey which starts in two weeks.

Conservationists hope to be able to get an answer to the thorny question of how many hedgehogs there are in the country.

Patrick Wilson, of the Mammals Trust, said: "We need thousands of people to take part.

"There is anecdotal evidence which suggests hedgehog numbers are falling but we can't do anything until we know how many there are and where they are."

For more information or to volunteer for the programme, call 020 7498 5262 or email hedgehog@mammalstrustuk.org



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