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New Risks to Hedgehogs
1st January 2018
At a time when the population of our native hedgehog is sadly still declining, the last thing that’s needed in the UK is the introduction of a pest trap that can further endanger the species, even if it is unintentional.
Our friends at the BHPS are petitioning the government against the approval given by DEFRA to the A24 Rat Trap (used in New Zealand as a trap against non-native species including the European Hedgehog). Whilst we are aware that the manufacturers of the product do supply an excluder tunnel that they believe should prevent hedgehogs accessing the trap, it is in fact both an optional extra and could in itself prove damaging to the hedgehog.
Whilst the narrow opening of the tunnel will allow the hedgehog to only put its head through, when they try to reverse out they will find it difficult to withdraw their head as their spines are likely to catch on the mesh of the tunnel itself. We therefore agree with the position of the BHPS and feel that the use of this trap will be a risk to a protected species.
The government’s response to the BHPS petition to withdraw DEFRA approval states:
“A condition of use for all approved spring traps is that so far as is practicable without unreasonably compromising its use, the trap must be used in a manner that minimises the likelihood of its killing, taking or injuring non-target species. We are confident that hedgehogs can be effectively excluded from the trap when set according to manufacturer’s instructions and an excluder tunnel is used (see https://goodnaturetraps.co.uk/). We do not, therefore, intend to remove this trap’s approval.”
As the excluder tunnel is an optional extra for purchase, this leaves the decision to the purchaser as to whether they use this, something that is not in line with the government’s statement above.
In which case as the BHPS state: “If a trap is set, albeit intended for something else and it catches a hedgehog, then the person who set the trap can be prosecuted. Anyone setting traps for ‘vermin’ or non-protected species is obliged to take all reasonable precautions to avoid catching a protected species. Since there are no ‘reasonable precautions’ to avoid catching hedgehogs using this trap, anyone who sets them is at risk of prosecution if they catch a hedgehog.”
Please visit the BHPS site for further information and a link through to their petition, they need your help.
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