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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 February, 2004, 10:50 GMT
Hedgehog find worth 20
Locals will receive 20 in return for a hedgehog
Islanders in the Outer Hebrides are to be offered 20 for every hedgehog they hand over to rescuers.

Last year people on Uist were offered 5 per animal and the take-up was low.

Animal welfare groups are preparing a fresh attempt to stop hedgehogs being culled by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The agency is continuing with its project because hedgehogs eat the eggs of important local ground-nesting birds.

Uist Hedgehog Rescue (UHR) plans to resist any future cull and hopes to persuade celebrities such as Sting and Joanna Lumley to go to North Uist to help the campaign.

Last December, SNH agreed to spend 186,475 per year to help rid Uist of hedgehogs, with the cull set to be extended to the adjoining island of Benbecula during the latest drive.

Celebrity hopes

Some 5,000 hedgehogs are thought to be at risk.

Protesters, such as UHR, claim the cull policy is "inhumane" and a waste of taxpayers' money.

Last year UHR, a consortium of animal protection, rehabilitation and rescue organisations, handed out 5 to islanders for each rescued hedgehog.

They saved and relocated 156 hedgehogs during their summer-long campaign.

Celebrities including Sting, Sir Paul McCartney, Twiggy, Joanna Lumley, Sir Tim Rice and Watership Down author Richard Adams all offered the animals homes over the summer and UHR is hoping they will do the same this year.

Earlier this month, the People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), shelved plans to move hedgehogs from the Western Isles to the mainland as an alternative to a cull.

Hedgehog cull alternative spiked
03 Feb 04  |  Scotland
Hedgehog campaign rekindled
23 Jan 04  |  Scotland
New hedgehog cull planned
16 Dec 03  |  Scotland
Cost of hedgehog cull defended
19 May 03  |  Scotland

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