At Warner's, we rely on a healthy countryside to provide the best foraged botanicals and water quality to use in every distillation, so we aim to give back to wildlife and the countryside around us.
We champion those habitats and species that need our help, where declines have been seen, by supporting charities and habitat management that endeavour to improve the outlook for wildlife that calls Britain our home. People are very much part of the solution - that means all of us! We can all make a difference, no matter how small.
This is why, for our Christmas Campaign this year, we at Warner's are supporting the Hedgehog Street campaign. We hope that you, our gin fans, will join us in supporting Hedgehog Street to safeguard this species. If you have an affinity with Hedgehogs, why not become a hedgehog champion yourself, find out more here. By becoming more aware of some of the factors causing the decline in some of our best loved mammals, we can all do our bit to safeguard wildlife and give back to nature.
This winter, we are championing the Hedgehogs. Our spiny friends are an important part of the life and ecology on Falls Farm. On occasion, in the evenings when curiosity is still running, hedgehogs can be seen moving through Harrington, foraging in our Botanical Gardens, hedgerows and in the surrounding fields. However, these sightings are significantly less frequent than it they once were, even a few decades ago.
Hedgehog populations have declined shockingly: since the turn of the Millennium, in the countryside, hedgehogs have declined by at least a half, and in urban areas up to a third of all hedgehogs have gone!
There are many reasons why we have seen this decline, and unfortunately they are mainly human driven:
- Intensification of agriculture (Increasing the field sizes and removal/lack of management of hedgerows)
- Pesticides – slug pellets have been attributed to many hedgehog deaths, so please avoid using them at home
- Prey availability - reduction in biodiversity of prey through use of pesticides and habitat loss
- Road Kill – it is estimated 100,000 hedgehogs are killed annually on our roads, so please drive carefully, particularly on country lanes
- Predation – populations of predators are on the rise, including foxes and badgers
- Entrapment – litter / cattle grids / garden netting / football goals and tennis nets
- Garden machinery – trimmers and lawn mowers: always make sure that you disturb areas of long grass or leaves before heading in with machinery, as lots of critters will make their home
- Bonfires - always check your bonfires for animals, as they are a tempting pre-built home in the winter!
We can all do our bit to help the hedgehog, and it is people power in suburban environments that has helped hedgehog populations to rise recently. Hedgehog champions are tirelessly working on the ground creating hedgehog highways that connect feeding and breeding spaces, and engaging and talking about issues with their own local communities.
If you are the owner of an African Pygmy Hedgehog, please do be careful in winter, as they don't like the cold, so please keep them indoors! Although our campaign shows an African Pygmy Hedgehog (his name is Harry) exploring Falls Farm, this is simply because our native European Hedgehog (Reuben) was very sleepy. All the hedgehogs used in this campaign have been supplied by a member of the Animal Welfare Filming Federation (AWFF) and the National Association of Private Animal Keepers, so we know they are professional actors and are well cared for.
Thanks for you support!