© Didier Weber (RTL)
The high usage of pesticides and insecticides is affecting the insect population, thereby eliminating a food source for many small animals.
It is general knowledge that biodiversity is currently on a downturn, and we needn't look to far to find proof. The beloved hedgehog is facing the danger of extinction.
Fewer insects, more built-up areas, and radically expanded traffic - conditions are not ideal for the survival of the hedgehog, which is set to join the red list of endangered animals.
The number of hedgehogs in Luxembourg has fallen. The animals, which are primarily active in autumn and spring, are considered to be endangered in many countries already.
Roger Schauls of the Ecological Movement said the situation was the same in Luxembourg. This is said to be caused by the country's degree of landscape fragmentation, one of the worst in Europe if not the whole world, according to Schauls. In the case of the hedgehog, the creatures are forced to search for their food source due to the fall in number of insects, which means the average hedgehog will need to cross at least 3 roads on their nightly travels of 2-3km.
However, the peril of traffic is not the sole reason for the drop in hedgehog numbers. Schauls said the insect biomass had fallen by more than 75% over the last 20 years, reducing the hedgehog's primary food source. This can be traced back to the usage of pesticides or insecticides, which is affecting food sources for many other animals as well.
The hedgehog is also in need of more hedges or places to hide during the day, or to hibernate in the winter months.
There are ways to help encourage hedgehogs to find safety in one's own back garden. Claire Wolff said certain measures can be taken, such as not mowing the whole of the lawn, leaving a small patch for a hedgehog to hide, as well as encouraging more snails and insects. Compost heaps are also a good option for hedgehogs to find food. But the most important thing is to allow access between gardens, so often fenced off and unattainable for wildlife. Wolff suggested cutting a small hole in the bottom of a fence to allow hedgehogs to pass through.
In Luxembourg there are currently no accurate numbers for the hedgehog population. The Ecological Movement hopes that using the app "iNaturalist" will encourage people to tag hedgehogs when they encounter them, to help gain a concrete idea of the numbers.