Every day is Hedgehog Day!
Feb 2, 2021 —
My social media feeds are full of comments about Hedgehog Day - and it is wonderful to see our friends getting an extra boost of coverage ... but ... oh, I will get on to that in a minute.
Today is also significant as it sees the publication of a very important report that at first sight might not seem that relevant to hedgehogs. In fact in the 600 pages there is just one reference to hedgehogs - and that is:
"Ecosystems differ in their spatial reach (a hedgehog’s gut is an ecosystem, as is a tropical rain forest) and rhythmic time (minutes for bacterial colonies, decades for boreal forests)."
So not very relevant to either our understanding of their ecology or the improvement of their conservation.
My concern is that the report builds on a way of thinking that is potentially very troubling - the idea that the natural world should be given a financial value to encourage people not to destroy it. Yes, I understand why this path is being taken, but it leaves me feeling deeply sad that the essential value of nature is being ignored, and replaced by something convenient for a spreadsheet. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this - why not drop a line to the Hedgehog Highways Facebook group. For a different perspective, I point you to my dear friend Kate Raworth's book, Doughnut Economics.
What price a hedgehog?
But on to more gentle things - Hedgehog Day - built on the myth of Groundhog Day - itself built on Candlemas ... watch the film. I have to say the film Groundhog Day rather captures life in lockdown .... so did the groundhog cast a shadow? If so - lots more winter to come!
Hedgehog Day is a creation of the pet hedgehog keepers of the USA (the hedgehogs they keep as pets are domesticated, exotic pets that have come from a line of species from Africa - 'our' hedgehogs NEVER SHOULD BE kept as pets) - the imagining being that there was a hedgehog day in Europe (there wasn't!) that was brought over to the USA where there were no hedgehogs, so was transposed onto the groundhog. Very sweet story - just not true!
And anyway - every day should be hedgehog day!
Final word goes to the amazing people in East Meon - who are launching a Hedgehog Highways campaign and have sent me the t-shirt illustrating the update ... Thank you. And for the person who asked whether there was such a thing as too many hedgehog t-shirts.... well the answer is clearly NO! In fact there is even an equation (back into Prof Dasgupta's territory now) - where the correct number of hedgehog t-shirts one should own = n+1 - where n = the number of hedgehog t-shirts already in your possession!
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