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Last Updated: Monday, 5 April, 2004, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
Activists fight hedgehog killings
Hedgehog
Locals will receive 20 in return for a hedgehog
Efforts are resuming to cull hedgehogs in the Outer Hebrides - despite renewed anger from animal rights campaigners.

Bird enthusiasts want the animals wiped out on the Western Isles of North Uist and Benbecula because they eat rare eggs.

However, activists are launching a rescue mission to save the hedgehogs.

The cull is being run by the Uist Wader Project - a partnership including Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Executive.

'Totally outrageous'

Opponents argue the creatures should be relocated to the mainland rather than killed. Uist Hedgehog Rescue protesters are planning to disrupt the cull.

Advocates for Animals are offering islanders a 20 cash reward for hedgehogs brought to them, an increase of 15 on the previous offer.

Leader Ross Minett said: "What we're suggesting, and what we are going to do, is simply relocate them back to the mainland instead of unnecessarily killing these perfectly healthy wild animals."

Sadly, the introduction of hedgehogs to the Western Isles has had disastrous consequences for the islands' internationally important populations of wading birds
Stuart Housden
RSPB Scotland
He claimed SNH's plan was "scientifically flawed".

"They're not listening to the evidence, they're not listening to the experts, or the public opinion, and they're going ahead with this ridiculous killing policy which we believe is just totally outrageous," Mr Minett argued.

Stuart Housden, head of RSPB Scotland, replied, though: "Sadly, the introduction of hedgehogs to the Western Isles has had disastrous consequences for the islands' internationally important populations of wading birds."

SNH agreed in December to spend 186,475 per year to help rid Uist of prickly problem, with the cull extended to Benbecula during the later drive.

Celebrities including Sting, Sir Paul McCartney, Twiggy, Joanna Lumley, Sir Tim Rice and Watership Down author Richard Adams all offered the animals homes last summer.


SEE ALSO:
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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